Reprinted with permission of Boat U.S. Magazine (click here to view the article).
Article by National Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on the Liturgy
Cremation and Burial at Sea
Code of Federal Regulations
Title 40, Volume 17, Parts 190 to 259
Revised as of July 1, 1999
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
CITE: 40CFR229.1, Page 240-241
Title 40 - Protection of the Environment
Environmental Protection Agency
PART 229 - General Permits -Table of Contents
Sec. 229.1 - Burial at sea
(a) All persons subject to title I of the Act are hereby granted a general permit to transport human remains from the United States and all persons owning or operating a vessel or aircraft registered in the United States or flying the United States flag and all departments, agencies, or instrumentalities of the United States are hereby granted a general permit to transport human remains from any location for the purpose of burial at sea and to bury such remains at sea subject to the following conditions:
(1) Except as herein otherwise provided, human remains shall be prepared for burial at sea and shall be buried in accordance with accepted practices and requirements as may be deemed appropriate and desirable by the United States Navy, United States Coast Guard, or civil authority charged with the responsibility for making such arrangements;
(2) Burial at sea of human remains which are not cremated shall take place no closer than 3 nautical miles from land and in water no less than one hundred fathoms (six hundred feet) deep and in no less than three hundred fathoms (eighteen hundred feet) from (i) 27 deg.30'00" to 31 deg.00'00" North Latitude off St. Augustine and Cape Canaveral, Florida; (ii) 82 deg.20'00" to 84 deg.00'00" West Longitude off Dry Tortugas, Florida; and (iii) 87 deg .15'00" to 89 deg.50'00" West Longitude off the Mississippi River Delta, Louisiana, to Pensacola, Florida. All necessary measures shall be taken to ensure that the remains sink to the bottom rapidly and permanently; and
(3) Cremated remains shall be buried in or on ocean waters without regard to the depth limitations specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section provided that such burial shall take place no closer than 3 nautical miles from land. (b) For purposes of this section and Secs. 229.2 and 229.3, land means that portion of the baseline from which the territorial sea is measured, as provided for in the Convention on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone, which is in closest proximity to the proposed disposal site. (c) Flowers and wreaths consisting of materials which are readily decomposable in the marine environment may be disposed of under the general permit set forth in this section at the site at which disposal of human remains is authorized. (d) All burials conducted under this general permit shall be reported within 30 days to the Regional Administrator of the Region from which the vessel carrying the remains departed.