Burial at Sea

How to Package and Ship Cremated Remains for a Burial at Sea

By | Burial at Sea

The United States Postal Service® offers Priority Mail Express® and Priority Mail Express International® service for shipping human or animal cremated remains domestically and internationally.

General Instructions

Cremated remains are permitted to be mailed to any domestic address when the package is

prepared as described below and in the referenced postal manuals.

Cremated remains are permitted to be mailed to an international address when the designating country does not prohibit the contents and when Priority Mail Express International service is available to that country. You can verify this by checking the Individual Country Listing in the Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM®) 


You will need a primary inner sift-proof container, cushioning material, and an outer shipping package.

Note: A sift-proof container is any vessel that does not allow loose powder to leak or sift out. There are many options available to store cremated remains — Typically the bag you receive the ashes in should be acceptable inside the external shipping box.

USPS® recommends consulting with a licensed funeral director to help you select the best container.

Inner Primary Container

■ Domestic Shipping: The inner primary container must be strong, durable, and constructed in such a manner as to protect and securely contain the contents inside. It must be properly sealed and sift-proof.

 ■ International Shipping: A funeral urn is required as the inner primary container. It must be properly sealed and sift-proof. 

For a burial at sea, the Los Angeles Disposition of Human Remains Permit must be included inside the package or arranged with Los Angeles Yacht Charter in advance.

Seal and Address the Inner Primary Container 

In the event the shipping label becomes detached from the outer container, the Postal Service™ recommends that you put the sift-proof container in a sealed plastic bag. Then, attach a label with the complete return address and delivery address on the sealed plastic bag and the wording “Cremated Remains.” 

Cushioning Material 

For both domestic and international shipping, place sufficient cushioning all around the inner primary sift-proof container to prevent it shifting inside the outer shipping package during transit and to absorb any shock to prevent breakage. 

Outer Shipping Package

 For both domestic and international shipping, cremated remains must be shipped by USPS Priority Mail Express or Priority Mail Express International Service utilizing either a USPS-produced or customer-supplied shipping package. If using a customer-supplied shipping package, it must be strong and durable to withstand transportation handling.

 For convenience, the Postal Service has a Priority Mail Express Cremated Remains box that may be used for domestic or international shipments using the applicable Priority Mail Express service. The Priority Mail Express Cremated Remains box can be ordered online at the Postal Store on® and is available as part of a kit. 

Before closing and sealing the shipping package, the Postal Service recommends adding a slip of paper with both the sender’s and recipient’s address and contact information inside the package. This extra step will help to identify the sender and receiver in the event the shipping label becomes detached.

Labeling and Markings

To increase the visibility of mailpieces containing cremated remains, the outer shipping box (USPSproduced or customer-supplied) containing cremated remains must be marked with Label 139, Cremated Remains, affixed to each side (including top and bottom). Label 139 is available at the Postal Store on or can be obtained at a retail Post Office™ location.

Label 139 (Dimensions: 4″ x 6″)

Address Your Package

Domestic Shipping:

■ A complete return address and delivery address must be used. The address format for a package is the same as for an envelope. Write or print address labels clearly. Use ink that does not smear and include the addresses and ZIP Codes™ for you and your recipient. 

■Double check the mailing address, especially the ZIP Code. You can use Look Up a ZIP Code™ on

 ■ Mailers may generate single-ply Priority Mail Express labels through Click-N-Ship® or other USPS-approved methods.

International Shipping: A complete return address and delivery address must be used. The mailer must indicate the identity of the contents (Cremated Remains) on the required applicable customs declaration form. To determine the applicable required customs form, see IMM Section 123.61. 

Note: If available, the cremation certificate should be attached to the outer box or made easily accessible. The sender is responsible for adherence to any restrictions or observances noted by the designating country.

For More Questions:

■ Visit a Post Office to speak with a Sales and Service Associate.

 ■ Call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).

 ■ FAQs on 

■ Video – How to Package and Ship Cremated Remains: For postal supplies, visit the Postal Store on

How to Package and Ship Cremated Remains – US Post Service Publication 139 (September 2019)


Los Angeles Disposition of Human Remains Permit

By | Burial at Sea | No Comments

In order for the California government to keep track of the deceased, any movement or activities of the remains (such as entering, moving, and or leaving the area) requires a Permit for Disposition of Human Remains. Including burials at sea.

You can typically collect your loved ones’ permit from the funeral or crematorium establishment that worked with you and it should be included with the service.  

If the ashes are from out of the country, state, or the cremation center is no longer able to re-issue the permit because too much time has passed, then a permit will need to be purchased from the Los Angeles Vital Records Office. This can be done by you, a family member or a friend in the LA area. If needed it can also be added as an additional service provided by Los Angeles Yacht Charter. 

How to pick up a Los Angeles County Disposition of Human Remains Permit

The permit can only be picked up in person. However, anyone can pick up the permit on your behalf with the proper paperwork.  The office will need to have the following information and documents to process the permit:

  • An original death certificate (or a true copy) or an original transit/burial permit
  • The full name (of the deceased)
  • Date of birth (of the deceased)
  • Date of death 
  • City, County, and the State of Death 

Cost: $12.00 (They accept cash, credit, or check) 

Pickup Location: 

DPH Vital Records Office

313 North Figueroa Street

Room Lobby-1

Los Angeles, CA 90012

Open Monday-Friday 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM

For More information please reach out to the Vital Records Office directly:

Phone Number  (213) 288-7816 

Los Angeles Vital Records Office Website


Where do ashes go once they are scattered in the Pacific ocean?

By | Burial at Sea | No Comments

After a beautiful burial at sea, the nautical bell is rung and the departed begin their next adventure. From any of our Southern California locations, the ashes begin in the Pacific Ocean and enter the California current, also known as the pacific ocean current. Some parts of the ashes will make the burial area home while other parts could venture south with current going along the equator and onto destinations as far as Asia or Australia. Each journey and individual is different, but through the burial at sea, they become one with the ecosystem of the ocean.