Canoe caskets offer a funeral fit for a Viking

A Texan business appears to have come up with the next best thing to a Viking funeral – a canoe casket

For anyone who’s truly mad about boating, nothing could be more fitting than a Viking funeral. The image of the hero’s body burning along with his floating boat has been immortalised by the likes of Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones.

Sadly, due to concerns about semi-charred remains floating down the Solent, such practises are illegal unless you cremate the body before setting out to sea.

So it may be of some solace to learn that a company in Texas has come up with what might be the next best thing for those looking for a true Viking burial.

Pheonix Boatworks Canoe Caskets was set up by Texan artist Dennis Barrett to honour his sister Gerri, who died of lung cancer at the age of 44.

Dennis wanted to celebrate his sister’s love of boating and came up with the idea of creating a wooden coffin in the shape of a canoe.

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“While shopping for caskets, and standing next to one of my other family members we were chatting about how she went out,” Dennis writes on the Pheonix Boatworks website.

“I mentioned that I’d not want to put anyone through the same extended pain as my sister had, just put me in my canoe with a bundle of dynamite and I’d just push the button myself!

“Then I thought to myself, no. This would be messy and someone would have to clean up after me and I’d not want to bother someone. So then I thought to just bury me in my canoe, and the idea was born right then and there.”

The concept has since caught on and Dennis now uses his 11ft hull design to create both the canoe casket and memorial bookshelves.

And although Dennis does not make any reference the medieval Norse warriors, its seems that his idea for a canoe casket is firmly rooted in Viking tradition.

As Caitlin Doughty, a mortician who specialises in unorthodox cremations and burials, explains on her YouTube channel:

“What did the actual Vikings do? If you were a high-ranking warrior sometimes they would bury you and your entire ship in the ground.

“They would also bury you with weapons, food, jewels, all the things that they thought you needed for the next life.”


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