You know what I’ve been thinking about lately? Burials at sea. Last week when I heard that Osama Bin Laden was buried at sea it reminded me that I used to have a big fascination with this practice. It all started after I saw James Bond's funeral in You Only Live Twice.
How fucking cool is that?! He even had a fully functioning office on a submarine! Complete with hat rack! After I saw that movie I’d take this plastic toy mummy into the bath with me and pretend it was Bond faking his own death.
I’m pretty sure it was this one out of the 1970 Secret’s of the Mummy’s Tomb G.I. Joe play set.
Bond would solemnly slide of the edge of the tub into his watery grave somewhere down around my junk only to be stealthily retrieved by my Actionman SAS Frogman that I got from John Menzies in Scotland.
Exhibit A: Actionman SAS Frogman.
Exhibit B: John Menzies
Saddly, unlike agent 007, both are no longer with us. I guess Bond got a burial at sea because he was supposed to have been in the Royal Navy. But it’s not a bad gig when you think about it. They just stick you in the ocean and then the fish eat you, very environmentally friendly. And maybe when Richard Branson gets his Virgin deep sea tours thing going,
It looks like a cross between an old Fischer Price toy and a Lindt chocolate bar
your skeleton can wave at everyone like one of those fish tank ornaments.
What are the rules for being buried at sea? Are there any? I thought the ocean was like no man’s land where you can gamble, shoot fireworks, and put Freon in your car’s AC. Do you have to contact anyone? It seems kind of weird just going out there and dumping a body without telling anyone. Magic Internet. Up periscope!
Question 39: Are there any laws for burials at sea?
Magic Internet Answer: There are a number of laws keeping an individual from merely dumping a human body in the ocean. Human remains present a sanitation and public health risk so most countries have strict laws governing their transportation. The body will have to be properly embalmed or at least in a sealed casket and a copy of a death certificate must travel with the body.
Or you could go the cheaper and more hilarious route of just purchasing a pair of sunglasses.
Once you are sea bound there are further laws governing the disposal of human remains at sea. And keep in mind that when you are in international waters you are to obey the laws of your vessel’s home country. In Canada, burial at sea is covered under the Environmental Protection Act and a permit must be applied for at least 8 weeks in advance.
Most funeral homes that deal with burials at sea apply for the permit yearly in advance so that they do not have to wait 8 weeks before burial. A fee of $2500 must also be paid to the Receiver General for the permit. The body will also require a medical certificate stating that it is free of any disease that may become waterborne and a notification of the intent to bury at sea must be made in a local news paper.
Don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll be allowed to Twitter it soon.
The deceased must also be identified with a permanent identification tag that includes the phone number of the funeral home in case the body resurfaces or is dragged up by fishing vessels.
For this reason also the burial must be in at least 200 meters of water and be at least 3 nautical miles from land. It is also recommended that the coffin be made of wood or steel and be of a sufficient size to hold the body plus at least 90 kilograms of additional weight to hold down the body.
It is also recommended that you drill at least 12 holes at least 2 centimeters in diameter to allow for quick flooding of the casket and to allow gases to escape during decomposition. Then all that is left is to say some words of good bye and commit the body to its watery grave.
Not exactly how I picture my funeral ,
but thanks Magic Internet.