Burials at Sea
Burials at Sea
According to regulations (40CFR 229.1) based on the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuary Act of 1972, human remains transported from U.S. ports or on U.S. vessels or aircraft may be buried at sea under specified conditions. These include cremated as well as non-cremated remains. Requirements for burying remains at sea are listed below. (Burial in inland waters are regulated according to the Clean Water Act. For inland waters burial, a permit is required from the appropriate state agency). Please note the requirement that the (EPA) be notified within 30 days after burial.
1. Preparation for burial. Human remains shall be prepared for burial at sea and buried in accordance with accepted practices and requirements as may be deemed appropriate and desirable by the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, or civil authority charged with the responsibility for making such arrangements. For example, local health departments may require burial or cremation permits.
2. Disposal location and measures. Non-cremated remains. Burial at sea of human remains that are not cremated shall take place at least 3 nautical miles from land and in water at least 600 feet deep. All necessary measures shall be taken to ensure that the remains sink to the bottom rapidly and permanently.
3. Disposal location and measures. Cremated remains. Cremated remains shall be buried in or on ocean waters without regard to the depth limitations specified for non-cremated remains in paragraph 2 above provided that such burial take place at least 3 nautical miles from land.
4. Decomposable flowers and wreaths. Flowers and wreaths consisting of materials that are readily decomposable in the marine environment may be placed at the burial site.
5. Notice to EPA within 30 days. All burials conducted shall be reported within 30 days to the EPA Region in writing. The following information should be included:
NAME OF DECEASED
DATE OF BURIAL/SCATTER
TYPES OF REMAINS Cremated
DATE OF CREMATION (if applicable)
LOCATION OF BURIAL/SCATTER
Distance from shore (min. of 3 nm)
Depth of water
VESSEL POINT OF CONTACT
(name and phone number)
PORT OF DEPARTURE
FOR NON-CREMATED REMAINS: Did the remains appear to rapidly sink to the ocean floor Yes No
NAME/PHONE # OF DIRECTOR/PERSON(S) RESPONSIBLE
FOR BURIAL ARRANGEMENTS
**MUST ATTACH PHOTOCOPIES OF BURIAL, CREMATION OR OTHER PERMITS REQUIRED BY APPROPRIATE CIVIL AUTHORITIES.
For more information contact:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region II
Patricia Pechko (212) 637-3796
New York, New York 10007-1866