Sea Burial

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Burials at sea are not common in South Africa, but it has been done a few times and we have had several requests for information in this regard.

The most important factor to take in consideration before you plan a burial at sea is that any person who wish to be buried at sea must state so clearly in his or her will - no burial at sea is allowed without that consent.

The Funeral Company will make a special application to the Department of Health for the burial. The human remains are then placed in a special "biodegradable body bag fitted with weights". No coffins are used.

The remains are then transported by either a chartered vessel or very often the NSRI (National Sea Rescue Institute) - Chartered Vessels are costly and the NSRI only requests a reasonable donation. The burial must take place a certain number of sea miles away from the coast. The undertaker and 1 member from the family accompany the deceased for the ceremony.

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