Our expert says:
Here is some infomation on burials at sea sent by Martin's Funerals:
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.
The average cost is estimated between R8,500 and R11,000. There are, according to our information, no manufacturers local that can make the specified body bag equipped with weights. This price excludes the cost to charter a private vessel and donation to NSRI. Burial at sea is not as cost effective as a standard cremation but is certainly environment friendly.
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