More and more Germans these days prefer to be buried at sea, media reports quote the Federal Association of German Undertakers as saying. The "Bundesverband Deutscher Bestatter" is trying to determine the exact number.
The cremated remains of some 20,000 people were buried in the North and Baltic seas last year, the Bundesverband Deutscher Bestatter (BDB, Federal Association of German Undertakers) told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur news agency.
The association cites increased mobility among the German population as a reason behind a rise in sea burials.
Gabriele Wolgast, deputy chairperson of the BDB, says it is difficult to quote the exact number of burials, but there has been a steady increase.
According to the BDB, between 2.5 and 18 percent of those who want to be cremated after death prefer their ashes to be scattered at sea.
German media outlet SVZ.de quotes Wolgast as saying that geographic differences also determine people's burial preferences, as Germans living far away from the sea, for instance in Bavaria, would rarely choose the ocean as their final resting place.
Wolgast said an increasing number of Germans are looking for alternative burials these days. "People want to get away from cemeteries and maintaining them."
For that reason, even anonymous land burials are on the rise, Wolgast added.
"They [cemeteries] are too rigid to be able to respond to [new] trends," Wolgast underlined, adding that financial aspects also play a role in people's burial choices.
Sea burials are often cheaper than those carried out on land.
A BDB official said that ashes may only be scattered at sea and not in lakes to be in compliance with German law.