State Rep. James M. Cantwell (D-Marshfield) is striving to change the law which requires funeral directors to store unclaimed cremated remains left by families , indefinitely, or take on the cost of interring them in a mass grave. Rep. Cantwell proposes giving funeral directors the option of burial at sea, which would provide a less costly, dignified and respectful burial ceremony for unclaimed departed loved ones.
Captain Brad White, founder of New England Burials at Sea LLC (NEBAS) headquartered in Marshfield, recently testified at the State House with Rep. Cantwell in a hearing that was meant to educate the Committee on the need to amend the existing 2008 law to allow funeral directors a legal means to dispose of abandoned cremated remains, by simply including the three words, “or at sea.”
According to Capt. White, “The way the law reads now, funeral directors must either store unclaimed cremated remains or bury them in an undignified mass grave at a cost absorbed by the funeral home. As a result, many Massachusetts funeral homes have dozens or more unclaimed remains. Many people either simply don’t want or are not comfortable picking up the cremated remains of their loved ones.”
White continued, “Burial at sea is an easy, low-cost and dignified solution for left-behind ashes by the families for the funeral homes. A burial at sea is approved and paid for by the family or funeral home and not by any state or tax payer dollars.”
White also urged the public to contact their State Representative, State Senator as well as the Joint Committee on Public Health, chaired by Senator Susan Fargo and Representative Jeffrey Sanchez at the State House on Beacon Hill to encourage them pass this bill well before the March 21, 2012 final hearing.
White added, “This bill could again be a Massachusetts precedent for national change similar to many public interest laws that MA has recently enacted. This legislation could impact approximately 7,500 Massachusetts families and circumstances are similar in most other states as well.”
The cost of interment with all the proper permits can be as much as $900 per plot which is currently paid out of a funeral director’s pocket. Under the current law, this is the only option. Burials at sea can cost less than half that amount and are approved and paid for by the family.
Norwell Attorney Christian Haufler, Jr., J.D. explained, “Essentially, burial at sea or in the earth burials fulfill the legal and fiduciary requirement of the executor of a will and will bring proper closure to the family.”
Capt. White is the pioneer of augmenting the law to encourage ethical, dignified, legal and a financially feasible way for family members or funeral directors to obtain closure and complete the obligation to the deceased. Cremated remains are gently scattered in the sea following a private service with music, flowers and a beautiful prayer whether the event is attended or unattended by families and friends. The service is photo-journaled and registered with the EPA as required by law.
The amendment of the law is now under advisement. If accepted by Mid March 2012, it will go to the floor for a vote on or before July 2012.
In his experience, Capt. White has found that some families who have opted for burial at sea services did so partly because it is far more affordable than a traditional burial. Families who aren’t aware of all of their burial options may end up leaving their family member’s cremated remains at the funeral home instead.
White added that a recent client family told him, “My father passed away three years ago. It was during tough economic times for us. We wanted to honor him but just could not afford a traditional funeral and cemetery. We decided on the burial at sea. The ceremony was respectful and beautiful. Dad would have loved it.”
NEBAS is the best known company in the U.S. for sea burials. NEBAS burials at sea are legal, meet and exceed USCG and EPA regulations and the events are easy to plan. NEBAS handles all licensing, required permits and filings with the EPA.
New England Burials At Sea LLC, (NEBAS) offers burial at sea scatterings and eco-friendly full body sea burials, serving families from Maine to Florida and on the West Coast for groups up to 400 people since 2006. They are recognized by the EPA, US Navy, U.S.C.G. and many area funeral homes and crematories. Scatterings are also offered via vintage Airplanes in the Northeast from New Jersey to Maine and the company is also the exclusive distributor / operator for the Great Burial Reef® living ocean reef system (designed for cremated remains) from Virginia north to New England. NEBAS also created, designed and manufactures the Atlantic Sea Burial Shroud® for full body burials at sea.
For more information or images, visit http://www.newenglandburialsatsea.com, call New England Burials At Sea, Capt. Brad White toll free at (877) 897-7700 or direct (781) 834-7500, email OceanBurial@aol.com.
For high resolution “Burial At Sea image” downloads, visit: http://tinyurl.com/87lovs5, For high resolution “Vessel image” downloads, visit: http://tinyurl.com/7bunbll.
©2005-2012 New England Burials at Sea LLC, All rights reserved. Patents pending.