Excerpt from All About Sharks: A Complete Guide to the World’s Most Misunderstood Predator (Nov. 2017):
The naval tradition of a burial at sea for those who die while sailing is due, in part, to fearful myths created by European sailors about sharks.
One myth about sharks claimed that sharks could smell the rotting corpse on board a ship of anyone who died at sea and the sharks would keep following the vessel until the corpse was removed.
Consequently, when someone died on a ship that was nowhere near land, the body would be eagerly tossed overboard more from fear of sharks following the ship than from a desire to rid the ship of disease.
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