Burial at Sea

Section 66 of the 1993 Merchant Shipping (Salvage and Wreck) Act enables the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to make regulations regarding the burial of human remains at sea.

While no such regulations have been made to-date, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has developed voluntary guidelines for those considering a burial at sea. These guidelines are based on previous experience and seek to prevent distressing situations such as where a body is returned to shore. 

The guidelines recommend that cremation and the scattering of the ashes at sea be considered, rather than burial.  

Where this is not acceptable, it is recommended that the burial take place in waters at least 50 miles from the nearest coast with a depth of at least 200 metres. The guidelines also give recommendations on how the body should be prepared and on the design of the coffin.

The guidelines are available to download in PDF format below. 

For further information, please contact the Maritime Services Division on 01 6783422/3461 or at msd@dttas.ie


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