Your Guide to Sea Burials

Sea Burials for your loved ones, The Living Urn UK

Your Guide to Sea Burials

Within the last century, the popularity of cremation instead of burial has risen significantly. Following this rise in popularity, it has been closely followed by many new and unique ways to honour a loved ones memorial. The Living Urn has very quickly become a devoted choice given it’s sustainable ethos and benefits to our environment. However, another very popular memorial is a Burial at Sea. Like everything else, there are many things to consider when choosing this method. Families will have to consider things such as boat rental, attendance and the services required.

Unattended Scattering at Sea - Check this service for the UK

Not everyone will be able to attend a Scattering memorial at sea. Some of your family members may have travel illnesses or they may live far away. If you are concerned that not everyone of importance will be able to attend, you may be able to collaborate with a burial at sea service, a professional company that can perform the memorial service for you. If you decide to take this route, the captain of the ship (or boat) will take the cremated ashes out to sea and to your location of choice, they will then scatter the ashes for you. You may request personal touches such as a favorite song, a poem or prayer to be performed as part of the service.

Attended Scattering at Sea

You will obviously need to do your research to find the best burial at sea solution for you and your family. If you have decided that you would like to attend, with your closest friends or family, make sure that you find a boat that is big enough to accommodate everyone together. If you decide to use a company to support the service, talk to them about your preferences to ensure that they are able to go to the location that you want to go to perform the sea burial. As this is an attended scattering, you can also create your own memorial service that will be special for your loved one - Choosing the right music, poems and prayers and opportunities for others to speak and remember fond memories. 

Scattering Ashes at Sea Ceremonies

You can either choose to have your ceremony on the boat, or at the shore. There is a beauty to creating your own ceremony, especially when by the sea, you can include friends and family speaking about the special person who passed, celebrating their life and reflecting on time together. Part of the ceremony will include the scattering of the ashes at sea, or placing a water urn into the water. It is up to you whether one person scatters the ashes, or perhaps all significant family members take turns, it is actually relatively common for the whole group to take part. You may like to have a minister present to read prayers and eulogies and sometimes people will bring flowers or rose petals to also place in the water during the service. Remember that you can ensure that your specific needs are catered for different interests, religions and ethnicities.  As an example, you may have heard of a mariner’s farewell for both military and civilian mariners. With this service, a verse is read during the burial at sea and the ship’s bell tolls eight times. People who attend this ceremony typically toss flowers into the sea as a final send off.

Themed Celebration

A memorial service of any kind is a celebration of life and you may want to consider planning an event to accompany the water burial. You can create an event that would be special to the loved one that you have lost, something that they were passionate about to remember them by and give them a wonderful send off. Perhaps they loved sailing, so you could take your family and friends on a sailing trip for the day or perhaps they loved just being by the sea and the beach so you could have a bonfire on the beach and a celebration together. Whatever they loved, and whatever your family agree on can really make the day as special as possible.

Religious Service

It is very important for some families to include their religion and traditions. If you are Christian, then you will want to book a minister to be present so that they can read prayers and eulogies. Or if you are Buddhist, this service might include monks in colorful robes along with chanting to the site of the water burial and praying while the ashes are scattered.

Scattering at the Beach

A popular form of ‘Sea Burial’ is actually held on the beach. If your loved one was particularly fond of the beach and spent a lot of time there, many beaches will allow for something that is called ‘Trenching’. This involves digging a trench in the sand, right next to the water and then placing the ashes inside of the trench. Once the ashes are then covered with sand, and the trench is full, the ashes will eventually and gradually wash into the sea with the tide, due to the close proximity. You will need to make sure that you check on rules and guidance here, and make sure that you seek permission. You can then plan the design of the trench, making this unique to your loved one; perhaps in the shape of a heart or their initials.

Scattering by Surfboard, Paddleboard, Kayak, or Canoe

A popular form of a sea burial that you may have seen involves a ceremony where friends, family and sometimes a community paddle out into the ocean beyond the surf and form a circle where a loved one’s ashes are scattered.  People can say prayers and share stories during the ceremony.  Those that cannot paddle out can congregate on the shore to watch and a celebration of life can be held that involves everyone before or after the scattering.


Types of Urns for Sea Burials

An important thing to think about, when considering a burial at sea are the many ways that you can scatter your loved ones ashes and the urn that you will use to do so. Some families may opt to use a can of some description, or you may use the temporary container provided by the funeral home - Remember that you are not burying the urn, you are scattering the ashes so you will have to dispose of the ‘urn’ respectively. There are many beautiful products that have been designed just for this purpose when scattering ashes at sea, these are more commonly referred to as scattering urns or sometimes, water urns. Here are some urns that we have available for you to consider:

Water Urns

Water urns are a unique biodegradable urn or, Eco Water Urn - These are placed into the water and then they will scatter the ashes in a graceful and dignified manner. This eco friendly urn is manufactured from recycled plant based materials, when you place it into the water it will float for a few moments before releasing the ashes into the sea. The Eco Water Urn comes in beautifully presented packaging, an eco friendly bamboo case which means that the urn is able to be safely transported. Due to its look and excellent functionality, the Eco Water Urn is a very popular choice for water burials for families all over the world.

Scattering Urns

Due to it’s unique and beautiful look, eco friendly manufacture and premium functionality, the Eco Scattering Urn is also a very popular choice. This urn has a cylindrical shape and a very easy open and close feature on the top, making it a smooth process when scattering your loved ones ashes at sea, in a graceful and respectful manner. Our Eco Scattering Urn is lightweight and durable and it is created entirely from bamboo,  which is one of the most eco friendly building materials in the world. Because of the secure open and close functionality, the urn is very easy to transport, keeping the ashes safe and also enabling you to take some home if you so wish. Starting at £49, it’s an affordable option to include as part of your sea burial.

Sea Burial Regulations

When considering a sea burial for scattering ashes, there are actually not that many regulations to think about. Scattering ashes can be done at any depth and at any location that is favourable to you, you may find though that it must be done at least three nautical miles from the shore - So do your research when planning the location and speak to the necessary councils if required. You can include flowers and urns as part of the service, but make sure that these are 100% biodegradable, so that they will not harm the ocean or sea life. Every location will be different though, so make sure that you do speak to the local authorities in advance to support your planning, whilst cremated ashes are harmless and sterile, you will want to make sure that you have permission so that nothing harms your day and the ceremony. 

Why People Choose a Sea Burial

Many families and friends choose the sea because it is so calming and it has a special meaning to us all. If you have a connection to the sea, creating a memorial there can be a wonderful way to remember your loved one whilst being very eco conscious for the environment too. There are many reasons that people choose to to bury a loved one at sea:

Sea Burials, The Living Urn UK

Their Love of the sea & Natures surroundings 

The coastal parts of Great Britain are some of the most beautiful parts of the world, they give us a sense of total relaxation and peace. DId you know that the ocean actually covers 70% of our planet's surface? As a race, we have still only uncovered 10% of the vast area of ocean on the globe, so much of this wonderful element is left to our imagination. Marine biologists  have estimated that there are over 2 million species that inhabit the sea, over 50% of the life on earth. It is one of our most valued resources, providing food and water for millions of people - the ocean represents love and comfort for so many of us.

Member of the Navy or other Military Branch

Many people who served in the Navy or other military branch have spent a considerable amount of time on or near the sea. Because of this it will have a special meaning to the family and the person who passed, and it creates a sense of home coming.

Passion for Fishing

A popular sport for many, millions of people set out to sea to fish all year around. It is a passion for many and considered a lifestyle. It is an activity where one spends time alone at nature, or bonding with family members. It boasts a special connection to the water, feeling a sense of peace and achievement. 

A Love of Sailing

A passion for many, sailing is a wonderful way to truly be part of the ocean and some dedicate their life to this activity at sea. Sailing brings feelings of complete relaxation, cruising and being guided by the nature of wind itself. It creates excitement, connection to nature and happiness to those who love this sport. 

Water Activities 

Activities on the water are invigorating and great fun. Whether surfing, wind surfing or paddle boarding it is a relaxing break from your day to day. Perhaps your group can paddle board out to their favourite location to scatter the ashes, and feel as close to nature as they did. 


Swimming is something that we all learn from such a young age, and whether you swim for sport or leisure, it is a popular family activity. Some people use this as an opportunity to explore the water, whilst snorkelling or diving. If your loved one loved to swim, it would be the perfect place to lay them to rest at sea.


Diving is a special experience, and many people enjoy the chance to connect underwater and explore the world below. Choosing a water burial, at their favourite underwater location is the perfect way to honour your loved one.

The Beach

If you are lucky enough to live by the beach, you will also be grateful for this all year around. People travel from all over the country to enjoy a special beach spot. This is something that many of us associate with total calm and enjoyment, it evokes memories of childhood experiences and holidays with their friends and family, somewhere where memories were always made. If your loved one has grown up close to the beach, they may have a special connection to a particular location making this the perfect place.

Is a Sea Burial the Right Choice for You or Your Family Member?

Choosing the right ceremony and memorial for your loved one is an important decision to make with your family. There are a number of reasons that a sea burial will be the ideal choice for you. We hope that we have provided you with some helpful information to support your decision, if you have any questions you can always reach out to your cremation service provider, a church member or local funeral director to offer you further assistance.