Burial at sea

Burial at sea

Overview

Burial at sea describes the procedure of disposing of human remains
Body
With regard to living things, a body is the physical body of an individual. "Body" often is used in connection with appearance, health issues and death...

 in the ocean, normally from a ship or boat. It is regularly performed by navies, but also can be done by private citizens in many countries.

Burial at sea services are available at many different locations and with many different customs, either by ship or by aircraft. Usually, either the captain
Captain (nautical)
A sea captain is a licensed mariner in ultimate command of the vessel. The captain is responsible for its safe and efficient operation, including cargo operations, navigation, crew management and ensuring that the vessel complies with local and international laws, as well as company and flag...

 (or commanding officer) of the ship or aircraft or a representative of the religion performs the ceremony.

The ceremony may include burial in a casket, burial sewn in sailcloth, burial in an urn, or scattering of the cremated remains by ship.
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Encyclopedia

Burial at sea describes the procedure of disposing of human remains
Body
With regard to living things, a body is the physical body of an individual. "Body" often is used in connection with appearance, health issues and death...

 in the ocean, normally from a ship or boat. It is regularly performed by navies, but also can be done by private citizens in many countries.

By religion


Burial at sea services are available at many different locations and with many different customs, either by ship or by aircraft. Usually, either the captain
Captain (nautical)
A sea captain is a licensed mariner in ultimate command of the vessel. The captain is responsible for its safe and efficient operation, including cargo operations, navigation, crew management and ensuring that the vessel complies with local and international laws, as well as company and flag...

 (or commanding officer) of the ship or aircraft or a representative of the religion performs the ceremony.

The ceremony may include burial in a casket, burial sewn in sailcloth, burial in an urn, or scattering of the cremated remains by ship. Burial at sea by aircraft is usually done only with cremated remains. Other types of burial at sea include the mixing of the ashes with concrete and dropping the concrete block to form an artificial reef
Reef
In nautical terminology, a reef is a rock, sandbar, or other feature lying beneath the surface of the water ....

 such as the Atlantis Reef
Atlantis Reef
The Neptune Memorial Reef also known as the Atlantis Memorial Reef or the Atlantis Reef is an underwater mausoleum for cremated remains and the world's largest man-made reef . The place was chosen at 3.25 miles off the coast of Key Biscayne, Florida...

.

Below is a list of religions in alphabetical order that allow burial at sea, with some details of the burial. However, there are always many different beliefs even within the same religion, and views may differ according to those beliefs.

Buddhism


There are very few traditional Buddhist burials at sea. Traditionally, the deceased are cremated and the ashes are placed in a grave or columbarium
Columbarium
A columbarium is a place for the respectful and usually public storage of cinerary urns . The term comes from the Latin columba and originally referred to compartmentalized housing for doves and pigeons .The Columbarium of Pomponius Hylas is a particularly fine ancient Roman example, rich in...

. Particularly in East Asian or Mahayana Buddhism, a physical gravesite is considered important for the conduct of memorial and ancestor rites. The Buddhist Churches of America
Buddhist Churches of America
The is the United States branch of the Honpa Hongan-ji sub-sect of Jōdo Shinshū Buddhism. Jodo Shinshu is also popularly known as Shin Buddhism. The B.C.A. is one of several overseas kyodan belonging to the Nishi Hongwan-ji...

, the North American branch of Japanese Jodo Shinshu
Jodo Shinshu
, also known as Shin Buddhism, is a school of Pure Land Buddhism. It was founded by the former Tendai Japanese monk Shinran. Today, Shin Buddhism is considered the most widely practiced branch of Buddhism in Japan.-Shinran :...

 Buddhism, has created a service for Buddhist burials at sea, primarily for military service members.

Catholicism


Officially, the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 prefers normal casket burials over cremations, but does allow for cremation subject to the condition that the ashes are entombed or buried. It is not proper to scatter or pour the cremated remains over the sea, water, or on the land. According to the Roman Catholic Church this action does not give due respect to the remains of the deceased, nor does it allow for the closure and healing of family and friends. Likewise they see that the housing the remains with family or friends and not placing the deceased in the ground, does not offer loved ones a specific and sacred place to visit the individual. Visiting the deceased in a holy place provides believers with a space to offer prayers, commune with the those who have gone before them in faith, and reminds them to await the resurrection of their own bodies. Burial at sea in a casket or in an urn is approved for cases where the deceased expired in the sea. The committal prayer number 406§4 is used in this case.

Reformed/Protestantism


The Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

 has detailed procedures for burial at sea. The ship has to be stopped, and the body has to be sewn in sailcloth, together with two cannon balls for weight. Anglican (and other) chaplains of the Royal Navy bury cremated remains of ex-Naval personnel at sea. Scattering of cremated remains is discouraged, not least for practical reasons.

Many Lutheran
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 naval veterans and seamen prefer to be buried at sea. In those cases either the casket or urn is set to sea, or ashes scattered. The procedure is similar as that with Anglican. Some parishes have specific consecrated sea areas, where ashes can be sprinkled.

Hinduism


Traditionally, the deceased are cremated, the bones and ashes are collected, and the ashes/remains are immersed in the Ganges River
Ganges River
The Ganges or Ganga, , is a trans-boundary river of India and Bangladesh. The river rises in the western Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and flows south and east through the Gangetic Plain of North India into Bangladesh, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. By discharge it...

 if possible or in any other river if not.

Islam


The sacred texts of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 prefer burial on land, "so deep that its smell does not come out and the beasts of prey do not dig it out". However, if a person dies at sea and it is not possible to bring the body back to land before decay, or if burial at land becomes impossible, burial at sea is allowed. A weight is tied to the feet of the body, and the body is lowered into the water. This would preferably occur in an area where the remains are not immediately eaten by scavengers. Also, if an enemy may dig up the grave to mutilate the body, it is also allowed to bury the deceased at sea to avoid mutilation.

In the Sunni Fiqh
Fiqh
Fiqh is Islamic jurisprudence. Fiqh is an expansion of the code of conduct expounded in the Quran, often supplemented by tradition and implemented by the rulings and interpretations of Islamic jurists....

 book Umdat al-Salik wa Uddat al-Nasik
Umdat al-Salik wa Uddat al-Nasik
Umdat as-Salik wa 'Uddat an-Nasik is a classical manual of fiqh for the Shafi'i school of Islamic jurisprudence...

, the condition for sea burial is:
It is best to bury him (the deceased) in the cemetery... If someone dies on a ship and it is impossible to bury him on land, the body is placed (O: tightly lashed) between two planks (O: to obviate bloating) and thrown into the sea (O: so that it reaches shore, even if the inhabitants are non-Muslims, since a Muslim might find the body and bury it facing the direction of prayer (qibla)).


But others disagree:
[A]fter giving Ghusl, Hunut, Kafan and Namaz-e-Mayyit it should be lowered into the sea in a vessel of clay or with a weight tied to its feet. And as far as possible it should not be lowered at a point where it is eaten up immediately by the sea predators.

Australia


Burial at sea within Australian territorial waters, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf is covered by the Environmental Protection (Sea Dumping Act) 1981 administered by the federal Department of the Environment. A permit is required for burial of bodies at sea. Permits are usually only granted in cases of a strong connection to the sea, for example long serving navy personnel. The body must not be embalmed or placed in a casket, it may only be sewn into a weighted shroud. The burial must be in water deeper than 2000 metres (6,561.7 ft) and not interfere with shipping, fishing or undersea communications. Australian Defence Force vessels engaged in armed conflicts or emergency situations are exempt from these requirements.

No permit is required to scatter ashes at sea.

United States


A funeral director is not required for the burial of cremated remains at sea; however full body burials require specific preparation to ensure that the body or coffin sinks quickly. California is the only U.S. State that does not permit full body burials within their territorial waters (which extends 3 miles from shore, Yet 3.1 miles offshore or greater is considered US Territorial Waters and hereby it is legal). The Environmental Protection Agency regulations for full body burials at sea in the United States require that the site of interment be three (3) nautical miles (3.5 mi / 5.6 km) from land and at a depth of at least 600 feet (182.9 m). In the northeastern United States this may require travel in excess of 30 miles (48.3 km) for a suitable site.. Santa Barbara, CA. is one of the few places in the country, where this service can be conducted within relatively calm water, meet the 3 mile offshore rule and achieve the depth required.

United States Navy



The United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 has performed many burials at sea in its history, with wartime burials as recently as World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, and peacetime burials still common. Most other armed forces also perform burials at sea, such as the British Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 and the Canadian Navy
Canadian Forces Maritime Command
The Royal Canadian Navy , is the naval force of Canada. The RCN is one of three environmental commands within the unified Canadian Forces. Operating 33 warships and several auxiliary vessels, the Royal Canadian Navy consists of 8,500 Regular Force and 5,100 Primary Reserve sailors, supported by...

.

If the deceased died on land or has been returned to shore after death, the remains may be brought aboard either in a coffin
Coffin
A coffin is a funerary box used in the display and containment of dead people – either for burial or cremation.Contemporary North American English makes a distinction between "coffin", which is generally understood to denote a funerary box having six sides in plan view, and "casket", which...

 or in an urn after cremation. The ceremony is performed while the ship is deployed, and consequently civilians are not allowed to be present. In the USA, people eligible for a free Navy burial at sea are:
  • Active-duty members of the uniformed services
  • Retirees and honorably discharged veteran
    Veteran
    A veteran is a person who has had long service or experience in a particular occupation or field; " A veteran of ..."...

    s
  • Military Sealift Command
    Military Sealift Command
    The Military Sealift Command is a United States Navy organization that controls most of the replenishment and military transport ships of the Navy. It first came into existence on 9 July 1949 when the Military Sea Transportation Service became solely responsible for the Department of Defense's...

     U.S. civilian marine personnel
  • Family members of the above


In preparation, the officer of the deck
Officer of the Deck
Officer of the deck is a position in the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard that confers certain authority and responsibility. The officer of the deck on a ship is the direct representative of the captain, having responsibility for the ship.-Overview:In port, the OOD is stationed on...

 calls All hands bury the dead, and the ship is stopped (if possible). The ship's flags are lowered to half mast. The ship's crew, including a firing party, casket bearers and a bugler
Bugle (instrument)
The bugle is one of the simplest brass instruments, having no valves or other pitch-altering devices. All pitch control is done by varying the player's embouchure, since the bugle has no other mechanism for controlling pitch. Consequently, the bugle is limited to notes within the harmonic series...

, are assembled on the deck. The crew stands at parade rest at the beginning of the ceremony. The coffin is covered with a flag, and is carried feet first on deck by the casket bearers. The casket is placed on a stand, with the feet overboard. In case of cremated remains, the urn is brought on deck and placed on a stand.

The ceremony is divided into a military portion
Military rites
Military rites are honors presented at a funeral for a member of a military or police force. These rites, which are performed at the burial, include the firing of rifles, presenting of a flag and or bugle calls. In Australia and New Zealand a Poppy Service is often held for members of the Armed...

 and a religious portion. The religious part is specific to the religion of the deceased, and may be performed by a Navy chaplain
United States Navy Chaplain Corps
The Chaplain Corps of the United States Navy consists of ordained clergy who are commissioned naval officers. Their principal purpose is to "promote the spiritual, religious, moral, and personal well-being of the members of the Department of the Navy," which includes the Navy and the United States...

, or by the commanding officer
Commanding officer
The commanding officer is the officer in command of a military unit. Typically, the commanding officer has ultimate authority over the unit, and is usually given wide latitude to run the unit as he sees fit, within the bounds of military law...

 if no chaplain of the appropriate faith is available. A scripture is read and prayers are said.

After the religious ceremony, the firing party is ordered Firing party, present arms. The casket bearers tilt the platform with the casket, so that the casket slides off the platform into the ocean. The flag which was draped over the casket is retained on board. For cremated remains, there is the option to bury the remains using the urn in a similar fashion to the procedure used for caskets. Alternatively, the urn can be opened, and the remains scattered in the wind. In this case, the wind direction has to be taken under consideration before burial to ensure a smooth procedure.

The firing party fires a three volley salute
3-volley salute
The 3-volley salute is a ceremonial act performed at military and police funerals as part of the drill and ceremony of the Honor Guard. It consists of a rifle party firing blank cartridges into the air three times. The custom originates from the European dynastic wars, where the fighting ceased so...

, the bugler plays Taps
Taps
"Taps" is a musical piece sounded by the U.S. military nightly to indicate that it is "lights out". The tune is also sometimes known as "Butterfields Lullaby", or by the lyrics of its second verse, "Day is Done". It is also played during flag ceremonies and funerals, generally on bugle or trumpet...

, and flowers may also be dropped into the ocean. After the flag is folded, the ceremony ends. The relatives will be informed of the time and location of the burial, and given photos and video recordings if available.

United Kingdom


Burial at sea was a method hypothetically suggested by the then Medical Officer of Health for Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

, Dr Duncan Dolton, in which unburied bodies could be buried at sea during any extended strike by gravediggers union the GMWU during the Winter of Discontent
Winter of Discontent
The "Winter of Discontent" is an expression, popularised by the British media, referring to the winter of 1978–79 in the United Kingdom, during which there were widespread strikes by local authority trade unions demanding larger pay rises for their members, because the Labour government of...

. The suggestion caused great alarm amongst the public and helped prompt a resolution to the strike.

Wartime burial for deceased at sea



In wartime, attempts are made for burial at sea to follow the same procedure as in the peacetime burial at sea, although a ship on a combat mission may not have all the necessary resources available. Nowadays, it is usually possible to airlift the remains back to shore, and prepare a burial ceremony. However, as recently as World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, deceased were buried at sea without returning to land. Due to the limited facilities of military ships, this procedure usually does not include a casket, but the body is sewn into a sailcloth with weights, usually rocks or cannonballs. Cremation is usually not possible on a ship. During the Pacific campaign there were some instances where deceased aircrews were buried at sea in the remains of their damaged aircraft, which were ceremonially pushed overboard from their aircraft carrier
Aircraft carrier
An aircraft carrier is a warship designed with a primary mission of deploying and recovering aircraft, acting as a seagoing airbase. Aircraft carriers thus allow a naval force to project air power worldwide without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations...


Memorial services at sea


If no remains of the deceased are available a memorial service may be held, and flowers may be dropped in the water, often over or near the location of the death.

People buried at sea



A few notable burials at sea:
  • Sir Francis Drake
    Francis Drake
    Sir Francis Drake, Vice Admiral was an English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician of the Elizabethan era. Elizabeth I of England awarded Drake a knighthood in 1581. He was second-in-command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588. He also carried out the...

     (1540–1596) (body in lead coffin off the coast of Portobelo, Panama
    Portobelo, Panama
    Portobelo is a port city in Colón Province, Panama. It is located on the northern part of the Isthmus of Panama and has a deep natural harbor. Today, Portobelo is a sleepy city with a population of fewer than 3,000...

    )
  • Edward Winslow
    Edward Winslow
    Edward Winslow was an English Pilgrim leader on the Mayflower. He served as the governor of Plymouth Colony in 1633, 1636, and finally in 1644...

     (1595 – 1655) (buried at sea near Jamaica
    Jamaica
    Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

     on 8 May 1655)
  • Stan Getz
    Stan Getz
    Stanley Getz was an American jazz saxophone player. Getz was known as "The Sound" because of his warm, lyrical tone, his prime influence being the wispy, mellow timbre of his idol, Lester Young. Coming to prominence in the late 1940s with Woody Herman's big band, Getz is described by critic Scott...

     (1927–1991) (cremated, and ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean off Malibu, California)
  • Robert A. Heinlein
    Robert A. Heinlein
    Robert Anson Heinlein was an American science fiction writer. Often called the "dean of science fiction writers", he was one of the most influential and controversial authors of the genre. He set a standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of...

     (1907–1988) (cremated, and ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean
    Pacific Ocean
    The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

    )
  • Doug Henning
    Doug Henning
    Douglas James Henning was a Canadian magician, illusionist, escape artist and politician.-Early life:...

     (1947-2000) (cremated, and ashes scattered into the Pacific Ocean
    Pacific Ocean
    The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

     of Redondo Beach, California
    Redondo Beach, California
    Redondo Beach is one of the three Beach Cities located in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The population was 66,748 at the 2010 census, up from 63,261 at the 2000 census. The city is located in the South Bay region of the greater Los Angeles area.Redondo Beach was originally part of...

    )
  • Sir Edmund Hillary
    Edmund Hillary
    Sir Edmund Percival Hillary, KG, ONZ, KBE , was a New Zealand mountaineer, explorer and philanthropist. On 29 May 1953 at the age of 33, he and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest – see Timeline of climbing Mount Everest...

     (1919–2008) (cremated, and ashes scattered in New Zealand
    New Zealand
    New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

    's Hauraki Gulf
    Hauraki Gulf
    The Hauraki Gulf is a coastal feature of the North Island of New Zealand. It has a total area of 4000 km², and lies between the Auckland Region, the Hauraki Plains, the Coromandel Peninsula and Great Barrier Island...

    )
  • Sir Alfred Hitchcock
    Alfred Hitchcock
    Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE was a British film director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent films and early talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood...

     (1899–1980) (ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean)
  • Rock Hudson
    Rock Hudson
    Roy Harold Scherer, Jr., later Roy Harold Fitzgerald , known professionally as Rock Hudson, was an American film and television actor, recognized as a romantic leading man during the 1950s and 1960s, most notably in several romantic comedies with Doris Day.Hudson was voted "Star of the Year",...

     (1925–1985) (cremated ashes scattered)
  • Janis Joplin
    Janis Joplin
    Janis Lyn Joplin was an American singer, songwriter, painter, dancer and music arranger. She rose to prominence in the late 1960s as the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company and later as a solo artist with her backing groups, The Kozmic Blues Band and The Full Tilt Boogie Band...

     (1943–1970) (cremated at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery
    Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery
    The Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery is a cemetery in the Westwood Village area of Los Angeles, California. It is located at 1218 Glendon Avenue in Westwood....

    , and her ashes scattered into the Pacific ocean)
  • Dennis Wilson
    Dennis Wilson
    Dennis Carl Wilson was an American rock and roll musician best known as a founding member and the drummer of The Beach Boys. He was a member of the group from its formation until his death in 1983...

     (1944–1983) (cremated ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean off California)
  • Leyla Gencer
    Leyla Gencer
    Leyla Gencer, or Ayşe Leyla Çeyrekgil was a world-renowned Turkish operatic soprano.Known as "La Diva Turca" and "La Regina" in the opera world, Gencer was a notable bel canto soprano who spent most of her career in Italy, from the early 1950s through the mid-1980s, and had a repertoire...

     (1928-2008) (ashes were scattered into the Bosphorus)
  • DeForest Kelley
    DeForest Kelley
    Jackson DeForest Kelley was an American actor known for his iconic roles in Westerns and as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy of the USS Enterprise in the television and film series Star Trek.-Early life:...

     (1920–1999) (ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean
    Pacific Ocean
    The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

    )
  • Gene Kelly
    Gene Kelly
    Eugene Curran "Gene" Kelly was an American dancer, actor, singer, film director and producer, and choreographer...

     (1912–1996) (cremated ashes scattered)
  • John F. Kennedy, Jr (1960–1999) (scattered into the Atlantic Ocean
    Atlantic Ocean
    The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

     by the U. S. Navy off Martha's Vinyard)
  • Werner Klemperer
    Werner Klemperer
    Werner Klemperer was a comedic and dramatic actor, best known for his role as Colonel Klink on the CBS television sitcom, Hogan's Heroes.-Early life:...

     (1920–2000) (cremated ashes scattered)
  • Peter Lawford
    Peter Lawford
    Peter Sydney Ernest Aylen , better known as Peter Lawford, was an English-American actor.He was a member of the "Rat Pack", and brother-in-law to US President John F. Kennedy, perhaps more noted in later years for his off-screen activities as a celebrity than for his acting...

     (1923–1984), actor, was cremated and ashes originally buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery; they were later removed and scattered in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Steve McQueen
    Steve McQueen
    Terrence Steven "Steve" McQueen was an American movie actor. He was nicknamed "The King of Cool." His "anti-hero" persona, which he developed at the height of the Vietnam counterculture, made him one of the top box-office draws of the 1960s and 1970s. McQueen received an Academy Award nomination...

     (1930–1980) (cremated and ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean)
  • Robert Mitchum
    Robert Mitchum
    Robert Charles Durman Mitchum was an American film actor, author, composer and singer and is #23 on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest male American screen legends of all time...

     (1917–1997) (cremated ashes scattered)
  • Vincent Price
    Vincent Price
    Vincent Leonard Price, Jr. was an American actor, well known for his distinctive voice and serio-comic attitude in a series of horror films made in the latter part of his career.-Early life and career:Price was born in St...

     (1911–1993) (ashes scattered off Point Dume
    Point Dume
    Point Dume is a promontory on the coast of Malibu, California that juts out into the Pacific Ocean.Point Dume, a long bluff, forms the northern end of the Santa Monica Bay, and Point Dume Headlands Park affords a vista of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Santa Catalina Island...

     in Malibu, California
    California
    California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

    )
  • Admiral of the Fleet Sir Alfred Dudley Pickman Rogers Pound
    Dudley Pound
    Admiral of the Fleet Sir Alfred Dudley Pickman Rogers Pound GCB OM GCVO RN was a British naval officer who served as First Sea Lord, professional head of the Royal Navy from June 1939 to September 1943.- Early life :...

     (1877–1943) (cremated ashes scattered)
  • Richard Rodgers
    Richard Rodgers
    Richard Charles Rodgers was an American composer of music for more than 900 songs and for 43 Broadway musicals. He also composed music for films and television. He is best known for his songwriting partnerships with the lyricists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II...

     (1902–1979) (cremated ashes scattered)
  • H. G. Wells
    H. G. Wells
    Herbert George Wells was an English author, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing text books and rules for war games...

     (1866–1946) (cremated and ashes scattered in the sea off England
    England
    England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

    )
  • Numerous victims picked up by rescue ships, whose remains were too damaged to preserve or for whom the rescuers lacked sufficient embalming materials, were buried at sea
  • Following the 1962 execution in Israel
    Israel
    The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

     of Adolf Eichmann
    Adolf Eichmann
    Adolf Otto Eichmann was a German Nazi and SS-Obersturmbannführer and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust...

    , the Nazi responsible for overseeing the extermination of millions of Jews
    Jews
    The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

     during the Holocaust, his body was cremated and his ashes scattered at sea over the Mediterranean, in international waters. This was done in this special case since Israel did not want such a person buried in its soil, and also did not want a grave elsewhere that might have become a place of pilgrimage for other Nazis.
  • Osama Bin Laden
    Osama bin Laden
    Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

     (1957–2011) One U.S. official stated that "finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world's most wanted terrorist would have been difficult." It was also done to prevent his burial place from becoming a "terrorist shrine". Islamic funerary rites
    Islamic funeral
    Funerals in Islam follow fairly specific rites, though they are subject to regional interpretation and variation in custom. In all cases, however, sharia calls for burial of the body, preceded by a simple ritual involving bathing and shrouding the body, followed by salah...

     indicate that burial take place on land "deep enough so that no beast will bother the deceased." However, burial at sea is also permitted to prevent the body from being dug up and desecrated.

See also

  • Illegal disposal of bodies in the water
    Illegal disposal of bodies in the water
    Illegal disposal of bodies in the water happens for various reasons, including the main difference between a burial at sea and a burial on land: the difficulty in recovering the body. Sometimes this difference is desired to dispose of bodies outside of the law.-Disposal of evidence:There may be a...

  • Military funeral
    Military funeral
    A military funeral is a specially orchestrated funeral given by a country's military for a soldier, sailor, marine or airman who died in battle, a veteran, or other prominent military figures or heads of state. A military funeral may feature guards of honor, the firing of volley shots as a salute,...

  • Viking funeral
    Viking funeral
    Burial customs of Viking Age Norsemen  are known both from archaeology and from historical accounts such as the Icelandic sagas, Old Norse poetry, and notably from the account of Ahmad ibn Fadlan....