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Burial at sea

Burial at sea is an option available to everyone, whether your loved one served in the navy or they were simply a boating enthusiast.


Where can you bury a loved one at sea?

If your loved one expressed a wish to be buried at sea, there are three designated areas in the UK where this is currently permitted:

  • Newhaven, East Sussex
  • The Needles Spoil Ground, Isle of Wight
  • Tynemouth, Northumberland

However, burials at sea have very strict regulations and will require a license for the burial from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).


How much does a burial at sea cost?

The license to bury a loved one at sea currently costs £175 for a fast-track application and you must supply the MMO with the following:

  • Death certificate
  • Certificate of Freedom from Fever and Infection (available from the deceased person’s GP or hospital doctor)
  • Notice of intention to remove a body out of England (available from the Coroner)


Coffin considerations for a burial at sea

When making arrangements for the deceased’s burial, no embalming is allowed as this preservative could cause water pollution. Instead, a cotton sheet or biodegradable body bag may be used.

When you receive your licence, you will be required to give details of the coffin build and the MMO has the right to inspect the coffin before the ceremony takes place.

The coffin must have holes drilled through it and be evenly weighted with 200kg of iron, steel or concrete clamped to the base. Materials such as plastic, zinc, copper and lead are not permitted.

For further details, please visit or contact our professional Funeral Directors.


Scattering ashes at sea

Scattering a loved one’s ashes at sea isn't uncommon in the UK. There are usually no legal obstacles to overcome, as long as the ashes aren’t scattered on a privately owned stretch of river without permission.

You must carry the ashes in a waterproof urn before scattering them in the sea, though simply placing the urn in the water is not permitted. When choosing to spread ashes of a loved one over water, you must also decide whether it will be done from a boat or from the shore line.

Read our guide on places to scatter ashes in the UK.

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