Thursday 31 January 2019

Davy Jones

I spend quite a bit of time mulling over End of Life Issues intubation - nursing homes - DNR - funerals - disposal of remains. I hope not too dismally.  In any case, I was much taken with a link on TYWKIWIDBI about drilling 5cm air-holes in coffins . . . so that they sink smartly and don't go all Bob the Casket and drift ashore.

Cue Master & Commander soundtrack.  The EPA in the US has some restrictions on the practice but basically asserts that everyone has the right to be buried at sea - not just Pat the Salt. So long as
  • the launch is 3 nautical miles = 3,000 fathoms = 5.5 km from the low-tide mark
  • no wreaths esp. plastic wreaths
  • no tombstones, mausoleums
  • casket to be weighted (no lead!!) and bound with six (6) bands of stainless steel, chain or natural fibre rope, holes drilled in the top and both ends [see pic R]
  • The event is reported to the local office of the EPA within 30 days.
I can't imagine what the EPA is going to do with the information on the Burial at Sea form, except file it. You may be sure I was hopping from one foot to the other until I could find out what the score in in Irish territorial waters because burial at sea sounds like a cheap and cheerful option . . . unless a force 6 gale blows up as the mourners leave harbour. It turns out that there are no regulations (yet) about the practice - only guidelines.  A couple of years ago a woman was sea-buried but reappeared on the beach many months later and caused work for the Gardai and the state pathologist - who found this body has been post-mortemed before. Nobody wants that sort of hassle so let's all resolve to do it properly. As far as possible by following The Guidelines:
  • 50 miles off the coast!
  • No embalming and no MDF cheapo coffins
    • no oak mahogany or iroku either - they last too long
    • holes drilled prior
    • robust for launch impact >!kersploosh!< and indeed impact >!baDONG!< on sea-bed several minutes later
  • 100 kg extra weight - steel chain recommended
    • No lead Pb, copper Cu or Zinc Zn
The 50 mile exclusion zone indicates a weekend trip at least - bring plenty of rum and ship's biscuit.

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