Scattering Ashes At Sea

Prince Charters, LLC's luxury yacht "Journey" sailing through the harbor in Huntington Beach, California.
Prince Charters' luxury yacht "Journey" sailing through Huntington Harbour. Photo courtesy of Prince Charters, LLC.


The ocean is a deeply significant place for many people. Some find spiritual nourishment from its symbolic representation of cleansing and unity; some have strong personal ties to it, fond memories held tight in the waves crashing on the shore; and for some, it is simply a breathtaking landscape that they are drawn to for reasons that cannot be expressed in words. Ancient cultures, such as the Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians, have practiced burial at sea for centuries, with many of these cultures viewing the ocean as a gentle portal to the afterlife. The ocean is seen as a conduit connecting the physical realm to the spiritual realm; releasing a person's cremated remains into this vast watery space aids them in their journey. Viking warriors would set their deceased kings and princes aboard ships laden with their possessions, send them to sea, and set the vessel aflame with flaming arrows. This seemingly violent ritual was actually a reverential farewell from those left behind, who sought to ensure an easy transition for the departed from their earthly form. 

Currently, over 70% of our planet's surface is covered by the ocean, and the desire to merge the remains of our own or a loved one's physical body with this great body of water is still extremely prevalent. You may have heard that scattering ashes at sea is illegal, and this is partially true: The Federal Clean Water Act of 1972 stipulates that you must be three nautical miles from the shore before spreading ashes or any other kind of remains. Prince Charters, located in Huntington Beach, California offers ash scattering at sea services to accommodate this policy and help people honor their loved ones. Family owned and operated since 1965, Prince Charters has never waved in their commitment to providing professional, respectful, and personal memorial services. Whether you opt for their classic wood boat that can seat up to 11 passengers or their luxury yacht that can seat up to 31, the following is an example of the kind of burial at sea they can provide:

The ash scattering service is 90 minutes, including cruise time to and from the ash
scattering destination. In true nautical sea burial tradition, the captain will ring the ship’s bell eight times after the ashes are scattered into the sea, signaling the last watch, and will then circle the site slowly three times in recognition of your loved one. You may also bring flowers to toss into the sea as we circle the site. This is a beautiful and memorable way to say goodbye to your loved one.

A customized certificate with the date, time and GPS coordinates is emailed within a week of the service. This background of the certificate uses a photo from your service showing the flowers floating on the sea with the coastline in the distance.

For those who would like to have their loved one's ashes spread in the ocean but are unable to attend or wish to forgo a memorial service, they offer unattended ash scatterings at sea in their range of charter options. A memorial service certificate with the date, time, and GPS coordinates of where the ashes were spread is provided afterwards, and you can have peace of mind knowing this sacred task was performed with the utmost respect by their trusted captain. 

Knowing that the ocean stretches across our vast earth and connects all living creatures can help us to feel a little less alone; a burial at sea can be a powerful ritual, a way of infusing our loved ones with the everlasting energy of water, allowing us to feel their essence present in all things. We understand the importance of having this act carried out in a manner that honors and respects you, your loved one, and the ocean, and we feel privileged to be able to recommend the services of Prince Charters, LLC in Huntington Beach, CA. If you are interested in learning more about this wonderful team, we encourage you to visit their website and take a look at their frequently asked questions for more detailed information.