Releasing the remains of a loved one in the Gulf is a popular option for many Texans. Port Aransas is a special place full of memories for many families. Saying goodbye to a loved one is never easy. Here are a few FAQs to help clarify the options for a burial at sea.
Is it legal?
Yes. The United States Environmental Protection Agency authorizes the transportation and burial at sea of cremated and non-cremated human remains.
Texas law says, “A person may scatter cremated remains over uninhabited public land, over a public waterway or sea, or on the private property of a consenting owner. Unless the container is biodegradable, the cremated remains must be removed from the container before being scattered.” Sec. 716.304. SCATTERING REMAINS.
However, many county health departments in Texas will not release non-cremated remains for sea burial.
Is a permit required before a burial at sea?
No. A permit for burial at sea is not needed prior the service. However, you or the boating service is required to report the exact location and conditions of the burial using the Burial at Sea Reporting Tool within 30 days of the service. Here are the requirements for preparations of the remains.
Can ashes be scattered at the beach or from the pier?
No. The disposal location must be at least three nautical miles from land and in ocean waters at least 600 feet deep. The exact longitude and latitude must be recorded and reported within 30 days of the service.
Is a floating funeral pyre allowed?
No. Transportation by an uncontrolled burning structure does not allow the precise recording of the disposal location and is likely to generate smoke, ash, and debris consisting of materials other than human remains.
I don’t have access to a boat. Can I use a rocket, balloon, fireworks, or a drone to transport the ashes?
No. Transportation by an uncontrolled expendable device does not allow the precise recording of the disposal location and is likely to result in the unrecovered means of transport.
How do I find a boat to conduct a burial at sea?
You may use your own boat or a boat that you are authorized to use. If the deceased is a military veteran or their spouse, you may also be able to make arrangements through the U.S. Navy or U.S. Coast Guard.
The following charters in Port Aransas offer burial at sea services with prior notice:
Are There Other Ways I Can Honor My Loved One's Legacy in Port Aransas?
Yes! The Port Aransas Parks & Recreation Department offers memorial benches and plaques that are placed on city property (parks and birding centers). Learn more about the program and fill out an order form here.