Singapore Funeral Committee

Feb 15, 2023

Understanding the Significance of Sea Burial Services in Singapore

When it comes to bidding farewell to a loved one, traditional funeral services may not be the only option. In Singapore, a sea burial offers a unique and meaningful way to honor the departed. This article aims to guide you through the various aspects of sea burial in Singapore, including legal requirements, costs, ceremony details, personalization options, environmental considerations, religious and cultural aspects, and even eligibility for non-Singaporean citizens. Let’s explore the depths of this extraordinary farewell option.

What is a Sea Burial in Singapore?

A sea burial, also known as an ash scattering ceremony, is a solemn and symbolic event where the cremated remains of a loved one are dispersed into the sea.

Additionally, the gentle currents of the ocean embrace the ashes, allowing them to become part of the eternal cycle of nature. This serene practice symbolizes the peaceful return of the departed to the elements of life.

Legal Requirements in Singapore

To ensure a sea burial is conducted in accordance with regulations, certain legal requirements must be met. The following are key considerations:

  • Obtaining a death certificate: Before arranging a sea burial, a valid death certificate from the relevant authorities is required.
  • Cremation process: In Singapore, the deceased must be cremated prior to a sea burial. The ashes, placed in a biodegradable urn, are used for the ceremony.
  • Application for sea burial: A formal application must be submitted to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) for approval. The application should include relevant details such as the deceased’s information, intended location for scattering, and the funeral director’s details.

Cost of a Sea Burial in Singapore

The cost of a sea burial in Singapore varies depending on several factors. These may include funeral service fees, transportation expenses, urn selection, and any additional services chosen by the family. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with a funeral director to obtain a comprehensive breakdown of costs and make informed decisions.

Expectations During a Ceremony in Singapore

A sea burial ceremony is a profoundly emotional event, and understanding what to expect can help ease the process. Here are some aspects to anticipate:

  • Transportation: The cremated remains are typically transported to the designated scattering site via boat, accompanied by family members and the funeral director.
  • Ceremony proceedings: The ceremony usually involves readings, prayers, or personal tributes. The family may choose to release the ashes individually or collectively into the sea.
  • Emotional support: Funeral directors play a vital role in providing guidance, support, and ensuring the ceremony proceeds smoothly, considering the sensitivities of the occasion.

Options for the Final Disposition of Cremated Remains

Apart from sea burial, Singapore offers alternative options for the final disposition of cremated remains. Some possibilities include:

  • Columbarium: Cremated remains can be placed in a designated niche within a columbarium—a sacred space for remembrance and reflection.
  • Scattering gardens: These serene gardens provide a peaceful setting for scattering ashes, allowing loved ones to visit and pay their respects.
  • Memorialization: Families may choose to create a memorial plaque or dedicate a memorial bench or tree in honor of the departed.

Personalizing a Ceremony in Singapore

To honor the memory of a loved one during a sea burial ceremony, personalization can play a significant role. Consider these ideas:

  • Choosing meaningful readings or poems to share during the ceremony.
  • Releasing biodegradable flowers or symbolic objects along with the ashes.
  • Inviting family and friends to contribute personal messages or stories to be shared during the event.

In addition, personalization adds a heartfelt touch to the ceremony and allows the family to create a meaningful and personalized tribute.

The Role of a Funeral Director

Funeral directors play an essential role in orchestrating a sea burial ceremony. In fact, their responsibilities may include:

  • Assisting with necessary paperwork and applications for the sea burial.
  • Coordinating logistics, such as transportation and the provision of necessary equipment.
  • Offering emotional support and guidance to the family throughout the process.
  • Ensuring the ceremony adheres to legal requirements and cultural sensitivities.

Environmental Considerations for a Sea Burial in Singapore

Sea burials are regarded as an environmentally friendly option, as they contribute to the natural cycle of life. However, it is essential to consider certain environmental factors:

  • Biodegradable urns: The use of biodegradable urns ensures minimal impact on marine ecosystems.
  • Location selection: Scattering sites should be chosen carefully to minimize interference with marine life and ensure compliance with regulations.
  • Avoiding non-biodegradable materials: To protect the environment, it is crucial to refrain from releasing non-biodegradable objects into the sea.

Moreover, by keeping these considerations in mind, families can make conscious choices that preserve both the memory of their loved ones and the environment.

Religious and Cultural Considerations for a Sea Burial

Different religions and cultures have varying practices and beliefs concerning burial rituals. It is important to respect and adhere to these considerations during a sea burial ceremony. Some key aspects to be mindful of include:

  • Customs and rituals: Understand the specific customs associated with the deceased’s religion or cultural background and incorporate them into the ceremony accordingly.
  • Spiritual leaders: Engage religious leaders or spiritual advisors to offer guidance and perform necessary rites or prayers.
  • Accommodating diverse beliefs: Be open to accommodating the diverse beliefs and preferences of family members and attendees to ensure an inclusive and respectful ceremony.

Sea Burial in Singapore for Non-Singaporean Citizens

Singapore welcomes non-Singaporean citizens to have sea burials, provided the necessary legal requirements are met. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with the relevant authorities and funeral service providers to understand the specific procedures and regulations that apply.

Finally, a sea burial in Singapore offers a distinctive and meaningful way to bid farewell to a loved one. From understanding the legal requirements and costs to personalizing the ceremony and considering environmental and cultural factors, this article has provided valuable insights into the world of sea burials. Embracing the gentle currents of the sea, this farewell option allows us to find solace and connection with nature as we honor those who have departed.

If you require assistance or further information regarding sea burials and funeral arrangements in Singapore, feel free to reach out to us at the Singapore Funeral Committee. Our dedicated team is here to provide guidance, support, and answer any specific queries you may have. Contact us today to ensure a smooth and compassionate farewell for your loved one.