Scattering Ashes At Sea
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any questions or in need of clarification, our comprehensive Q&A section will be able to help. We have completed all the information needed to assist you through the entire charter process ensuring you get the most out of your ceremony. We are looking forward to welcoming you onboard!
What are the steps to complete the arrangements?
These guidelines will help you create the perfect send-off that will honor your loved one. The ceremony is all about saying goodbye and creating an everlasting memory.
Once you have established the type of ceremony that would best fit your family and loved ones, there are only a few steps you need to follow to complete your arrangement.
1. Call Stargazer at (910) 540-4049. We will discuss your wishes and plan the event together.
2. The preparation of documents and itinerary.
a. We will send the document via E mail or, if desired, via US post mail for your final approval. This Ceremony Itinerary will include the “Authorization to Disseminate at Sea” and “Charter Contract” which will include all of the details of the ceremony.
b. We will need a copy of the cremation certificate provided by the crematorium.
3. Once all the completed paperwork and full payment are received, we will confirm a date and time of the ceremony.
4. If you will not be bringing the cremains at the time of the event, please be sure we receive them at least 3 days prior to ceremony to allow time for preparation. Once we receive the cremains, we will contact you with confirmation of the date and time of the ceremony.
5. Once the ceremony is completed, we will be filling all regulatory governmental documents with the Environmental Protection Agency. We will provide you with a “certificate of dissemination”. This certificate is suitable for framing and will state the date, time, latitude and longitude of the final resting place of your loved one.
It is a true honor to participate along side my customers during this journey to a loved one’s final resting place. We will be glad to discuss any other options with you in order to make this ceremony a fitting occasion for all. Please note that due to the unpredictability of the weather and water conditions, be advised the date and time frame will need to be confirmed the day before the scheduled ceremony.
How are cremated remains sent to you for a burial at sea memorial service?
Most often the cremated remains (also referred to as cremains) are sent to our office via priority mail express service or are sent directly from the funeral home or crematory.
Depending on the location, we can coordinate the transportation of the cremains with the crematory or the funeral home. If it is a local service, we will be more than happy to pick them up.
If you wish to transport the cremains prior to the memorial service, you could simply insert them in a USPS shipping box specifically designed for cremated remains along with the following forms: “Authorization to Disseminate Cremains at Sea”, “Charter Contract”, (both provided by us), and “Cremation Certificate” (provided by crematorium), as well as a money order or certified check for the service to be provided inside the shipping container. This method of shipping has been proven to be the most reliable.
We will work closely with you to make this a fitting memorial occasion carefully evaluating all your needs.
Effective September 2019 the postal service has new requirements for transporting cremains in order to increase visibility, improve tracking and handling.
When transporting the cremains domestically, you must use Priority Mail Express and place them in a sturdy box specifically designed for cremains also known as a (CRE) box. Label # 139 (indicating cremated remains) is required and must be affixed to all sides of the container including top and bottom. The purpose of using this service is to ensure that the package is tracked online via the USPS website and ensuring they are handled with care. This type of packaging is available at your local USPS store.
For international delivery or any other questions, you can contact USPS shipping services at (800) 275-8777 or visit them online by USPS.gov.
Your patience will be rewarded with a positive experience in getting your loved one’s cremains to their proper destination.
What if I don’t want to send the cremains through the mail?
Depending on where you live or where the ashes are located, we can accommodate you by arranging a date and time where we could acquire them. We will work hard to accommodate your desires. You may also bring them the day of service
How soon can the memorial service take place if it is an unattended ceremony?
The services will be provided within 30 days of the arrival of the cremains.
We will contact you once we receive the cremains and provide you with the date and time when the service will take place. If there is a specific time or date that is important to you, we will do our best to accommodate your wishes.
What kind of guarantee do we have that the dissemination process took place?
When using our company to perform an unaccompanied service, our reputation and its success is based solely on its credibility. Our company has developed standards and practices to insure/guarantee that no false claims will be made against us.
The service will be performed by the Captain/Owner and its crew, not by an outside party.
The owner is a licensed USCG Captain and Ordained Minister. All travels are logged in the boat’s logbook which is a federal document.
EPA regulations require that scattering of human cremains performed at sea is reported to the Environmental Protection Agency. The report includes specific information regarding the deceased. It is a federal crime to falsify these documents.
We will provide you with a Certificate of Dissemination. This certificate is suitable for framing and will state the date, time, latitude and longitude of the final resting place of your loved one. We have a witness and provide pictures & videos.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. Our aim is to answer all your questions with helpful advice along with creating a loving and pleasant experience.
Can the memorial be organized with our funeral director?
Yes. We make it simple for your representative to make arrangements with us. We will work closely with them in order to make this a memorial occasion.
What are the benefits of spreading ashes from a boat versus any other method?
- Burial at sea provides an opportunity for creativity and a memorial as unique as the life lived.
- You have total privacy.
- The use of environmentally safe and biodegradable water urns that are designed to gracefully float away, and gently submerge to the bottom of the ocean to begin their new journey. This makes the whole process an honorable, pleasant and stress-free experience, verses just scattering the cremains in open air.
- You can also reach more inaccessible places.
- A boat is the safest way to transport your loved once cremains 3 miles out to sea in order to legally release their cremains.
- The ceremony can be arranged according to your family and friends schedule and time of the year.
- It provides the family with a simple, affordable, timeless and traditional burial at sea.
Do I need to present any documentation of the deceased prior to sending them?
YES, We require a copy of the deceased individual’s “Cremation Certificate” which will be provided by the crematorium. The certificate will include the deceased legal name, date of birth, date of death and date of cremation, etc.
What kind of urns are used for scattering at sea?
There are many types of urns that can be used, however if you are planning on releasing the entire urn into the sea, the law states that you must use an earth friendly, biodegradable urn. For example, an urn that is made from paper, cardboard, natural salt, or other plant-based materials. In such instances the right sort of urn is one that can float for a few minutes then gently submerges into the water and dissolves, giving you time to reflect and say your goodbyes. Biodegradable urns are to be provided by the customer. The type of urn used depends on your style and budget.
What are the benefits of a scattering at sea ceremony?
- The cost is significantly less than a land burial.
- Water symbolizes freedom, back to nature, a cleansing of the soul and a natural flow of life.
- Holding the ceremony with only friends and family.
- Having a theme ceremony
- Planning a ceremony according to the family’s wishes or by honoring the deceased heritage.
- Friends and family members could toss a wreath and flowers along with the cremains into the water. As they drift away, friends and family members can say their goodbyes and pay their last respects as a final tribute to your loved one.
- You can visit the seashore or travel to the exact location the services took place at a later time through our boat charter service.
What are the disadvantages of burial at sea?
- Cremation and burial at sea are irreversible.
- There is no recovery of the cremains once they are released at sea. We recommend keeping a certain amount of ashes for personal safe keeping.
- There is no tombstone or niche to visit. The ocean will be your memorial.
** THERE ARE NO DOWNSIDES TO A WELL PLANNED SERVICE**
What does the ceremonial at sea package include?
- The filling of all regulatory governmental documents with the Environmental Protection Agency within 30 days of the burial at sea service.
- We will provide you with a “Certificate of Dissemination”. This certificate is suitable for framing and will state the date, time, latitude and longitude of the final resting place of your loved one’s cremains.
- The scattering of the cremains will be performed by using a beautiful basket with seasonal flowers/petals. The cremains will then be lowered from the Stargazer and gently submerged and absorbed by the ocean.
- Additional casting of flowers/petals will take place blanketing your loved one.
- Licensed captain, Ordained minister, a crew member and a yacht.
- All operating expenses related to the boat, including fuel, supplies, and insurance.
- All arrangement for the memorial service and sea tribute.
- Nonalcoholic drinks, snacks, fruit and hors d’oeuvres.
What about alcohol?
Responsible wine and beer consumption is allowed within reason. You are welcome to bring your own and we will be more than happy to keep it on ice for you.
What does the ceremony at sea package NOT include?
The customary gratuity for the crew at the end of the ceremony charter is typically 10% to 20% of the charter fee. The quality of service should dictate the amount of the gratuity. The crew works extremely hard, ensuring you and your guests always stay safe and catering to your every need, ensuring your experience on Stargazer is one that you will remember for a lifetime.
Biodegradable Urns and Wreaths are not supplied.
How long does the attended ceremony at sea take?
Trips are flexible around your needs and wishes. Most trips average 2-6 hours from departure to return. It depends on the location of the departing port, the type of memorial provided, weather conditions, and what your wishes are after the memorial. We will assure you that we will do our best to accommodate all your wishes.
How do we know the exact location where the dissemination took place?
We will provide you the exact latitude and longitude coordinates of the point of dispersal given to us via our on-board GPS system. An attractive and frameable certificate of dissemination will be provided for your records.
Can we keep some of the cremains?
YES. Many families choose to keep an amount of cremains for jewelry, or to keep in a sentimental urn at home.
The beautiful part of cremation is that it allows the family to divide the cremains to make creative and meaningful decisions that honors their loved one.
How is an unattended scattering at sea ceremony performed?
(This is our most popular service)
If family members and guests cannot venture to sea, we will bring the cremains on a sea voyage for you. A dignified memorial of the cremains will be performed at the pre-selected location of “The Liberty Ship”.
This ceremony will include:
- The casting of the beautiful basket with flowers and petals will be gently lowered from the side of the vessel until submerged into the ocean. The petals and cremains will be slowly absorbed by the sea.
- Any quotes, prayers, memories you would like to share can be voiced through our PA system via live streaming or a recorded message.
- We offer photographs and videos upon request.
- We will contact you prior to the day of the ceremony and work closely with you to make this a fitting memorable occasion, carefully evaluating your needs and desires. The captain and crew will take great care of your loved one and handle the process with dignity and the respect it deserves.
How is an attended scattering at sea ceremony performed?
This service is designed to be a positive experience and to provide peace of mind for everyone involved. Our goal is to guide families and their guests in creating a unique memorial event while providing exceptional service. For those who wish to participate in the ceremony, we have the perfect vessel to accommodate them. On our scheduled date and time, we will meet at Stargazer’s designated location to begin your time on the water and get ready to experience a comforting and peaceful day. We will begin our three-mile voyage to the final destination, off the coast of Wrightsville, Carolina or Kure Beaches. Upon arrival, we will begin our farewell ceremony. At this time any prayers, memories and reflections can be shared. The casting of a beautiful basket with flowers or petals will be gently lowered from the side of vessel until submerged, absorbed by the sea, becoming part of nature. The casting of flowers by family and friends will take place. There will be ample time to celebrate the life of your loved one. Once the ceremony is completed at sea, we will return to shore.
We will work closely with you to make this a fitting memorial occasion, carefully evaluating your needs and desires to insure a safe, comfortable and memorable day for all.
How far in advance do we need to book for an attended sea ceremony?
We may be able to accommodate you with only several days’ notice, advance notice will guarantee preferred date and time of service.
Do people generally get motion sickness while participating at the memorial at sea?
No. The vessel has a very sturdy platform and she handles the sea extremely well.
If you are not sure how you will react to possible motion sickness, it is recommended to visit your doctor prior to the charter for advice. Any anti-nausea medication should be taken the night before and 2 hours prior to departure for maximum effectiveness. Over the counter motion sickness aids such as wristbands, and behind the ear remedies also work. Check with your pharmacist for your particular situation.
If you are prone to seasickness, we recommend you consider staying and viewing the ceremony from shore.
What should I bring aboard the yacht when we go out to sea?
In order to be comfortable for your day at sea. The following items are recommended to ensure your day on the water is enjoyable.
- You are welcome to bring cut flowers, flower petals, or a floral wreath. All must be biodegradable!
- Sunscreen, lip balm
- Hat, Sunglasses
- Non – marking shoes or sneakers. No flip flops, high heels or dress shoes.
- Motion sickness medication if susceptible. Take first dose the night prior and 2 hour prior to departure.
- Dress for the day. Weather in NC is unpredictable. An unexpected rain shower or cool breeze on the water can occur without warning.
Can you perform pet burial at sea ceremonies?
No. Unfortunately, EPA regulations state that you cannot release pet remains into the ocean.
Can you play or provide any special music?
YES. Stargazer is well equipped with the latest custom-made electronics. It includes the ability to Bluetooth your own smartphone or any smart devices into our central audio system and be able to entertain any music or songs you desire.
Where is the pre-selected location at Wrightsville Beach?
We will depart from downtown Wilmington or Wrightsville Beach and out to sea through Masonboro Inlet and set out 3 miles towards a World War II Shipwreck (Lat. 34 10’31”/long. 77 45’ 07”) The Ramsey, a 441-foot-long Liberty ship. Locally known as “The Liberty Ship”. This shipwreck was sunk in 50 feet of water on June 4, 1974 to establish an artificial reef. This shipwreck is an amazing artificial reef thriving with coral, and an abundance of sea life. I find this location to be the most desirable due to its history and its accessibility. You can view the ceremony from shore with its large yellow steel buoy marking the sight. This buoy allows you to identify the location of the final resting place of your loved one. If you would like to visit the site in the future, we could provide this type of service.
What happens if the weather is inclement?
The safety of our guests, crew and vessel is extremely important. We will contact you several days prior to the scheduled day of the ceremony and update you with the latest weather conditions expected on the day of the ceremony. If the forecast is threatening, we will study the possibility of rescheduling for a later date or time at no additional cost to you. The goal is to provide a safe and positive experience for all.