Water Burial of Ashes

sand and gelatin containers

As mentioned in the Scattering of Ashes page, the vast majority of scatterings take place in or over water. There is a romance associated with water and due to connections made though their lifetimes, many individuals often wish to be scattered on, or in water. This can be done as described in the Scattering of Ashes section where the remains are spread over the water’s surface. This process however, can be problematic on a breezy day because the cremated remains can often blow back onto those participating in the scattering ceremony.

It is for this reason that biodegradable urn products have been developed and introduced. Biodegradable urns allow the cremated remains to be placed directly inside them and then the entire urn (containing the cremated remains) can be placed into the water. Most of these urns are designed to float for a short period of time whilst memorial service attendees say a prayer, read a poem, sing a song, spread flowers or just spend a few moments to quietly reflect on what the deceased meant to them. Once the urn has drifted below the water’s surface it will begin to biodegrade. The material that the urn is made of will determine how long it takes to dissolve. Some biodegradable urns can break down almost in a matter of minutes, while others can take several days or weeks.

Over the last ten to fifteen years, other forms of disposition in water have increased in popularity. One company mixes cremated remains with cement and pours the mixture into a form. The resulting product which includes the cremated remains as a component is then placed on the ocean floor. The shape of this molded form is such that it attracts marine life which ultimately helps preserve and maintain marine eco-systems. Other companies have created underwater cemeteries of a sort where cremated remains are placed into secure niches as one might have imagined in Atlantis, the mythical underwater city.