Veteran Burial at Sea

The U.S. Navy perform burials at sea for all eligible individuals. The Navy:

  • Performs burials from deployed vessel.
  • Family members may not be present.
  • Commanding officer of the ship notifies the family of the date, time, longitude and latitude of the committal after the burial.
  • A Burial at Sea Request/Authorization Form is needed.

The following information, provided by the Navy's Regional Coordinator, Groton, Connecticut, applies to navy funerals held in New Jersey and New York. The command also handles funerals held in the states of Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Members who die while on active duty, Medal of Honor holders, members and retired members of the Naval Fleet Reserve are eligible for full military honors. This consists of a firing party of seven enlisted members plus an Officer in Charge (OIC) or a Petty Officer in Charge (POIC), dependent upon the rank/rate of the deceased; six body (casket) bearers (firing party can serve as body bearers when personnel are limited); a bugler (when bugler is not available, a tape of “Taps” will be used); a chaplain will be furnished when requested by the next of kin. In the case of members and retired members of the Naval Fleet Reserve, if resources are not available, the Navy will provide a representative to present the flag to the next of kin.

Honorably discharged Navy veterans are eligible for partial military honors which include two flag folders, one of whom will act as a presenter of the flag to the next of kin. If resources are not available, the Navy will provide a representative to present the flag to the next-of-kin.

For more information call the United States Navy Mortuary Affairs office at 1.888.647.6676, and select option 4. you can also visit the U.S. Navy Website at www.navy.mil/navydata/questions/burial.html.  

The U.S. Coast Guard also performs burials at sea to eligible veterans. The Coast Guard:

  • Performs burial from a United States Coast Guard Cutter while the ship is deployed.
  • Family members are allowed to attend at the discretion of the unit Commanding Officer/Officer in Charge.
  • Commanding officer also notifies the family of the date, time, longitude and latitude, once the burial has been completed.

Eligibility

U.S. Navy and Coast Guard eligibility requirements are:

  • Those who died while on active duty
  • Honorably discharged retirees and veterans
  • Dependent family members of the above
  • U.S. civilian marine personnel of the Military Sealift Command

The U.S. Navy will bury or scatter the remains of any deceased member of any branch of the U. S. Armed Forces, active or retired. If burying at sea, the remains must be in a metal casket. If scattering, the remains must be in an urn.

Arranging a Ceremony

After the death of the individual, the person authorized to make funeral arrangements must complete a Burial at Sea Request Form, which can be downloaded at www.navy.mil/navydata/questions/burial.html.

The completed form, along with (1) a copy of the death certificate; (2) the burial transit permit or the cremation certificate; and (3) a copy of the DD Form 214, discharge certificate, or retirement order of the deceased are called a Burial at Sea Request package.

After all required documents are gathered, the funeral director will send the Burial at Sea Request package, a burial flag and the cremated remains to the Burial at Sea Coordinator for the pre-selected port of embarkation (see list below).

Ports of Embarkation

Bremerton, Washington

Commanding Officer
Naval Hospital
ATTN: Code 015-DA
Bremerton, WA 98312-5008
Telephone: 206.475.4387 or 206.475.4303

Honolulu, Hawaii

Navy Liaison Unit
Tripler Army Medical Center
Tripler AMC, HI 96859-5000
Telephone: 808.433.6611

Jacksonville, Florida

Officer In Charge
Naval Branch Health Clinic, Burial at Sea
2104 Massey Avenue, Naval Station
Mayport, FL 32228
904.270.4285

Norfolk, Virginia

Commander, Naval Medical Center
ATTN: Code 0210C
620 John Paul Jones Circle
Portsmouth, VA 23708-5100
Telephone: 757.953.2617 or 732.953.2618

San Diego, California

Commanding Officer Naval Medical Center
ATTN: Code 22-BAS
San Diego, CA 92134-5000
Telephone: 619.532.8305, 800.290.7410