Traditionally, many people do not like sea burials as they may think of a sea burial as a lonely and sorrowful journey. However, with God’s grace, we can make it a beautiful, peaceful and memorable moment for the family of the bereaved. In recent years, sea burial has become a popular alternative to land burials and cremation.
While cremation and land burial are the typical choice for funeral arrangements in Singapore, here are some reasons why people opt for sea burial:
- The deceased may have expressed a desire to receive a sea burial after their passing
- The deceased may have been a freedom-loving individual who wished to be buried at sea in order to return to nature
- According to NEA, land burial plots are allocated a maximum land tenure of 15 years, after which the body must be exhumed and placed into a niche at a government columbarium
- The deceased may have expressed a desire to not be placed in a niche after cremation
- Sea burial is more economically-friendly as compared to other methods of burial
What to Prepare and Expect for Sea Burial?
The thought of having to prepare for the passing of a loved one is never easy and it can be daunting for many, especially if they have never experienced a sea burial before. There are a few things to take note of which we will list down in order below.
- The ashes may be collected by the family, who may then proceed to Changi Point Ferry Terminal, where a bumboat may be chartered to take the family to a designated point for sea burial.
- The family may bring along flowers, prepare songs/poems and/or invite a Pastor to be present along during the sea burial.
- For larger groups of up to 100 people (not applicable during the Circuit Breaker period), the family can opt for a yacht to be chartered for the sea burial instead (Marina South Pier Ferry Terminal).
- Passion Bereavement Care would like to advise that the sea waters may sometimes be quite turbulent and the bumboat/yacht may rock from side to side during transit. Therefore, those who suffer from sea-sickness may wish to prepare medication for sea-sickness.
- Once the bumboat/yacht has reached the designated area, the Pastor will conduct a short prayer with beautiful hymns, songs and poems prepared by the family (if any). The ashes may then be scattered into the sea, or gently placed into the water with a cloth to sink into the water along with the flowers.
- After the ashes have been interred in the ocean, the bumboat/yacht will proceed back to dry land. During this period of transit, families would typically gather to throw stalks of flowers and petals into the ocean on the way back as a way of showing their final respects for the deceased as well as a gesture of remembrance. The entire procedure should take approximately between 30 to 45 minutes.
Changi Point Ferry Terminal, 51 Lorong Bekukong, Singapore 499172
Marina South Pier Ferry Terminal, 31 Marina Coastal Drive, Singapore 018988
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: I have family members who are not able to return to Singapore at the moment but we would like to hold the sea burial together with them when they return, is that possible?
A: Yes, arrangements can be made.
Q: My family members who are overseas are unable to return to Singapore but they would still like to witness the sea burial, what can I do?
A: We will not be able to provide Zoom service during the sea burial as there will not be stable (if any) Internet connection out at sea. Therefore, we will instead provide a video recording service upon request.
Q: If I have a family member who is handicapped (eg. Wheelchair-bound), will they be able to attend the sea burial?
A: Unfortunately, in such cases they will likely not be able to attend the sea burial as the bumboat will not be able to accommodate them due to the small size of the boat as well as limited seating capacity.
Q: Can I bring along my loved one’s favourite object/item to bury in the sea alongside them?
A: We recommend that you do not do so as any other objects that are placed into the sea will be regarded as litter and may disrupt, kill or injure any wildlife in the area. Please kindly exercise discretion and do not bring along any objects or valuables for the sea burial.
Q: During this Circuit Breaker period, how many people in total can attend the sea burial?
A: As per government regulations as of 29 May 2020, a maximum of 10 people can attend the sea burial, inclusive of: the boat captain, staff members from Passion Bereavement Care, pastor (if applicable) and family members.