Ashes at Sea,  New England Ash Burials, RI Ash Scattering
FAQ's

 

1)  Why do people choose to scatter their ashes at sea?

I ask that question of each group choosing us for their burial company. There are a number of reasons.  Often, people reveal the family member loved the ocean such a great deal, they long to spend eternity in it.   Some people had military or nautical backgrounds, and it was a wish of the deceased.   Others say that nature created us and that we should return to it.  Some say it is conservation of land space, and it is an environmentally friendly interment.   

2)   How do I avoid seasickness?

Very few people become seasick on ash burial cruises because we remain relatively close to land and return to the dock within 2 hours.    Venturing only 3 miles out to sea prevents large waves from forming and rocking the boat.  The captain will always try to keep the boat in protected waters from land.  For those prone to seasickness, you can take both Dramamine and Marezine, which are over the counter drugs.  These are taken a few hours before you arrive at the boat.   It is also recommended that you avoid the sunrise departure because your normal body routine will be disrupted by the early morning wake up. 

3)  What happens if inclement weather occurs?

We are very flexible on ash burials.  If rain, wind, or fog make you feel uncomfortable, we can move your reservation to another date. 

4)  How are ashes scattered?

Many ash scatterings are simply sprinkled or poured over the side of the boat from the urn.  Another method is to place a biodegradable sea urn or pillow with the encapsulated ashes  over the side of the boat.  In approximately 5 minutes, the container will absorb the water and begin to sink.  On breezy days, the preferred method is to place the ashes in a weighted wicker basket lined with biodegradable paper.   Flower petals are placed over the ashes.   The basket is attached to a pole and slowly lowered into the sea. 

5)  Where can I get information on cremation?

Local funeral directors are able to provide you with this information.

 

6)   How can I be sure that you dispersed our family’s ashes in the manner you promised on an unattended burial?

When I am traveling out to the dispersal site with someone’s ashes, I think about whom the person was and how they affected others.  How much time did they spend on the water and why they wanted to be buried at sea.  I am handling a person’s last request on earth, so you can be assured I am going to honor and do it with dignity and respect.

7)   How did you get into the business of ash burials?

I was approached by the wife of a very close friend of mine who was a sports writer for the Providence Journal.   He wrote many stories about my charter business.  She asked if I would bring her husband’s ashes out to the local fishing spot where I took him on many occasions.  I was honored she considered me for the service.   From that day on, it has been a very fulfilling experience for me.

8)  What should we bring?

In addition to the necessary paperwork that the captain prescribes, you are welcome to bring along any food or beverages.  Biodegradable flowers and wreathes without foam are also welcome.  Ocean temperatures are usually 10 degrees cooler than land temperatures, so an extra jacket or sweater is advisable.      

9)   Can anyone scatter ashes at sea?

Any person that takes out a group for hire, must have a U S Coast Guard license.   Federal regulations dictate that cremated remains be dispersed outside of 3 miles from land.   The precise latitude, longitude, and depth must be recorded and sent to the Environmental Protection Agency, in Boston, MA.   Crematory address, cremation date, cremation certificate, as well as the funeral director’s name must also be provided to the EPA.  If all of these requirements are met, then the ash scattering can legally be performed.  Due to the sensitive nature of an ash burial, we believe it is best to go with a professional ash burial service. 

10)  Do you participate in full body ocean burials?

Due to government regulations, a full body burial has to take place in water at least 600 ft. deep.  The distance needed to travel to this location is approximately 75 nautical miles from land.  Other restrictive measures prevent us from involvement in this procedure. 

11)  How do I send the cremains through the mail?

The US Postal Service will ship your cremated ashes.  Cremains must remain in the box in which you received them.  Place the original box inside a plastic bag and seal it.  Place the bag with the original box   and the Authorization form for the Scattering of Cremated Remains at Sea, in another box.

12)  Can pictures or video of the ceremony be provided?

The crew will provide pictures if requested.  A professional videographer is also available upon request.

13)  Is a gratuity required for the captain and crew?

 If you feel the experience on our boat was uplifting and the ceremony was performed in a respectful and professional manner to your satisfaction, then please feel free to offer a gratuity.  Gratuities, comments to benefit future burials, and testimonials are always appreciated.

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  Mailing Address :
 
 Rhode Island Ash Burials
 Charles Donilon
 2 Congdon Dr.
 Wakefield, RI 02879
 
 Address to Boat:
 
33 State Street, Narragansett, RI
 

 (401) 487-5144

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