rate in the United States is now at 42% nationally [CANA], with some areas
experiencing much higher cremation rates, and some areas such as Texas
experiencing exponential growth in the cremation rate year-on-year.
The increased cremation rate means that more families are now faced with
the question of what to do with the cremated remains. Families who
have opted for a simple, low cost cremation do not want to spend excessively
on interment options, and many families want to do something special and
memorable as a final act of laying a loved one to rest.
Too often today we hear folks
say “I just want a simple cremation and then my ashes scattered”.
In terms of ‘ashes to ashes and dust to dust’, the notion of returning
someone’s mortal remains into the eco-system seems a very natural and authentic
way to return someone to the base elements and atoms that were the beginning
when the whole family can benefit
from a life celebration cruise for the same money?
Burial at Sea: An alternative
ash scattering option for ex-pats, divers, ocean-lovers and cruise-lovers
Conducting an ash scattering
ceremony offshore in the Caribbean Sea appeals to many people who have
visited the Riviera Maya and fell in love with the turquoise waters and
white sands. Ex-pats who have chosen to live in Mexico often wish
to remain here when they pass. Those who have frequently visited
and enjoyed the amazing waters and vibrant aquatic life in the Caribbean
Sea, feel that to be scattered into these warm tropical waters is the perfect
final resting place. I have even known of people who leave instructions
for their family to cremate them and take a vacation to go and scatter
the ashes. Why spend thousands of dollars on a short funeral
Can you scatter cremated remains
in the Gulf of Mexico?
Yes, however, there are certain
laws that govern how you may disperse cremated remains offshore.
If you plan to scatter in the Gulf of Mexico, the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) has rules that human remains must be dispersed at least 3
nautical miles to sea and a form notifying the agency of a sea burial must
be submitted to the relevant EPA region within 30 days of the scattering.
If you opt to scatter the
remains offshore from Mexico no such rules appear to apply.
How can I transport cremated
remains to Mexico?
You can transport cremated remains
to Mexico in your hand luggage. You just need to ensure that the
cremated remains travel in an x-ray friendly container as they will have
to pass through the security x-ray and be inspected by the TSA. A
cardboard, plastic or wooden container is suitable. You should also
carry a copy of the death certificate and the cremation permit.
Can I scatter cremated remains
from a cruise ship?
There seems to be mixed reports
about scattering ashes from the cruise liners. Feedback from certain
cruise lines suggests that they do not encourage the act of scattering
ashes from the vessel whilst at sea. However, both NCL and Carnival
have confirmed that they will permit an ash scattering ceremony onboard
with certain guidelines.
The guest must contact the Guest
Services Desk once onboard the ship.
The Guest Services Staff and
the Environmental & Occupational Safety Officer (EOSO) will coordinate
the burial at sea.
Depending on the ship’s itinerary,
a time and location will be coordinated based on the guest’s suggestions
and operation requirements.
The ceremony must be performed
at least 12 nautical miles from land and any restricted areas noted on
the nautical charts and notices to mariners.
The main thing to consider when
scattering ashes from the side of a ship is how the ashes will disperse,
and avoiding any blow-back action from the wind, where you could end up
covered in the ashes or other passengers could. This is where using
a biodegradable cremation container that can be cast into the sea and then
will slowly sink and dissolve is a great idea.
Once the date and time are finalized,
Guest Services will notify the family of the scheduled ceremony.
The family will be escorted
to the area by the EOSO and a Security Officer.
The family will be given privacy
to disperse the ashes and the area will be secured in order to ensure privacy
without disrupting other guest activities.
Biodegradable containers and
flowers may be dispersed but not any plastic materials such as plastic
ribbons, plastic flowers, plastic urns, balloons, etc.
Are there boat tours to scatter
cremated remains in Cozumel and the Riviera Maya?
Yes, you can choose to take
a private boat tour where you can conduct your own ash scattering ceremony.
A small private charter can be a special and intimate way to host your
ash scattering ceremony and these charters are available at very reasonable
rates in Cozumel, Mexico. The same guidelines should be observed
with regards to performing a scattering ceremony where the ashes do not
get blown too much by the Caribbean breezes. Taking the cremated
remains in a biodegradable container can facilitate this.
In many cases the boat captain
will take photographs of the scattering for you, and even make a DVD for
a small fee.
How much does it cost to arrange
an ash scattering ceremony at sea?
This very much depends upon
how you arrange it. Scattering from a cruise ship can be done without
any cost, so long as the staff can accommodate your request.
If you opt to take a private
boat tour to scatter the remains, this will depend on the fees for the
charter. It is possible to arrange a 2-hour private tour on a 44
foot catamaran, including refreshments and snorkel tour (if desired) for
$50.00 per adult and $40 per child. [Minimum of 4 people required
$200.00] The boat can accommodate up to 28 people for a larger group,
and a catamaran to hold up to 75 people can also be arranged.
This tour is generally arranged
as a Sunset tour so that the ash scattering ceremony can be performed as
the sun sets over the Caribbean Sea. September through to March this
tour departs at 4:30 pm and April through to October it departs at 5:30
If you would like to make
a reservation for a Burial at Sea Sunset Charter, call us on (646) 374-4212
If you have any questions, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
||Expert Author: Sara
Sara is the Editor in Chief
for US Funerals Online and has been researching and writing about the death
care industry in the US for the last 5 years.