Many seafarers including NAUTICAL LOG wish to be buried at sea. Broward County homicide detectives (BSO) went into action when a body was found floating off Fort Lauderdale, FL. When everything had been investigated it turned out to be a 'burial-at-sea' improperly performed. The remains had been taken out in a chartered boat, MY Mary B III, by the family. The chartered boat captain should have been familiar with the maritime law that applies to 'burial-at-sea' prior to accepting such a charter. Broward County detectives (BSO) are conferring with the USCG before reaching any conclusion on whether any burial laws were violated.
We shall not deal with the religious burial issues here. Firstly it is legal to bury a body at sea, secondly the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved procedure must be followed. Human remains that are not cremated must be buried at least three (3) nautical miles from land. The water depth must be at least 600 feet deep, that is beyond the 100 fathom line. The body must be so weighed as to sink to the bottom "rapidly and permanently". The Naval weight used to execute this was two cannonballs sewn into the body's canvas shroud. Finally the EPA must be notified within 30 days of a 'burial-at-sea'.
In order that the burial is carried out properly and correctly in Maritime Law NAUTICAL LOG suggests using the services of a Maritime Funeral Provider. There are several in business, these can be found on the Internet along with some special burial sites. For those of you living in Europe the Societe Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer (SNSM) of France will perform 'burial-at-sea' when requested. There is no required fee however it is customary to make a contribution to the SNSM in return.