It’s easier than you might think to be buried at sea (Image: Gary Yeowell)

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Most of us anticipate either getting cremated and having our ashes scattered somewhere meaningful to us or being buried in a cemetery or church yard.

So it comes as a surprise that the law on burials is actually a lot more flexible than tradition dictates.

And while you may think a burial at sea is reserved only for sailors or those in the navy, making your final resting spot the ocean is open to everyone – although there are some rules.

Firstly, you must obtain a licence for burial at sea – different authorities grant this, depending on your location in the UK.

But a licence is granted on the ground that the body meets strict criteria. These include:

  • The body isn’t embalmed

  • The body is lightly dressed in biodegradable material

  • The body has a durable identification tag with the details of the funeral director.

And not only does the body need to be in a certain condition, so too does the coffin.

According to the Gov website, the coffin must be made of a solid softwood and must not contain any plastic, lead, copper or zinc. Needless to say, anything other than wood risks harming marine wildlife.

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As well as what it's made of, the coffin must be filled with holes and have a heavy metal base to aid sinking. It must also have weight distributed evenly to avoid bobbing up vertically – we want to avoid scaring any fishermen after all.

As well as the outer frame, the inner box or liner must be made from natural, non-toxic and biodegradable materials, and the whole thing must be able to withstand any impact and be able to carry the body quickly to the seabed.

Would you consider being buried at sea? Tell us in the comments.

For funeral notices in your area visit