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Do’s and Don’ts of Scattering Ashes at Sea

Do’s and Don’ts of Scattering Ashes at Sea

After the cremation service, cremation directors don’t get involved in what you do with the ashes. Family members decide what to do based on their preferences. You can keep the ashes, press them into a vinyl record, spread them, or bury them. Scattering ashes at sea is also a preferred way of disposing of the ashes of a loved one.

You can organize a sea burial with family and friends or scatter your loved one’s ashes with or without a sea ceremony. Regardless of your choice, there are a few things to know before scattering ashes at sea.

Let’s discuss the do’s and don’ts of spreading ashes in the ocean.

Don’t Scatter Non-Biodegradable Items

The ocean is home to many aquatic creatures. Therefore, you shouldn’t toss any non-decomposable items that can harm marine life. Instead, use eco-friendly materials that will decompose with time.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prohibits throwing pieces of metal, plastic, and wreaths into the ocean. But you can still toss flower petals into the water, provided they’re natural. Furthermore, select a biodegradable urn if you intend to spread cremated remains within its container.

Don’t Spread Ashes Against the Wind

Spreading the ashes on a windy day may not be a good idea. Sometimes it can be hard to get a calm day. So, the best approach is to take note of the wind’s direction.

If you toss the ashes against the wind, you can’t get them well scattered at sea. The wind can blow the ashes back into your face.

Tossing the ashes in the same direction as the wind is safer. If you’re in a water vessel, take precautions so the wind doesn’t blow the ashes back to the ship. Plus, ensure the ash doesn’t blow up to any person nearby.

Don’t Spread Ashes on a Private Water Stretch Without Permission

Most states in the U.S. don’t restrict scattering ashes at sea. If you’re in the precincts of a private property, you should ask permission before scattering the ashes.

If you spread the ashes secretly, you may end up paying penalties if found. Moreover, it’s not advisable to scatter a loved one’s ashes in foreign waters. Each country may have different policies about scattering ashes at sea.

You Don’t Need a Permit to Scatter Ashes at Sea

According to the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA), you don’t need a permit to conduct a sea burial. You need to notify the EPA within 30 days after the burial. The notice involves filing an online form. On that note, you’re not required to provide any documentation, such as a death certificate.

You Can Only Spread the Ashes 3 Nautical Miles From the Shoreline

The U.S. EPA requires you to pour the ashes a minimum of three nautical miles away from the shoreline. A nautical mile is equivalent to 1.85 kilometers or 1.15 miles. Therefore, you might need a boat to spread the ashes at such a distance. However, there’s no limit on water depth to scatter ashes at sea.

You Need a Special Permit to Spread the Ashes of a Pet

The MRSA general permit doesn’t allow scattering pets’ ashes at sea. So, you can’t mix human and animal ashes and spread them together. You can only do so if you have a special permit.

You Can Spread Cremated Ashes From a Boat or an Airline

Due to the three nautical miles requirement, you need a boat or an airline to scatter cremated ashes at sea. You can use your boat or hire one from boat operators. If you want to scatter the ashes from a cruise ship, you must ask permission first. Each cruise operator may have different policies on spreading ashes from their vessels.

Some can allow you to host a sea ceremony when bidding farewell to your loved one. Alternatively, you can spread the cremains from an airline. An airline is a good option if you want to scatter the cremated ashes further into the sea.

Why People Choose to Scatter the Ashes

Scattering cremated ashes at the beach is an honorable way to celebrate the life of your loved one. Once you scatter the ashes, you fulfill the departed family member’s wishes. However, before scattering ashes at sea, it’s best to consider state and federal laws to ensure you do it appropriately.

If you’re looking for cremation services in Clearwater, Florida Family Cremations is here to help you. Our cremation center provides customizable and affordable cremation services. You can choose from several cremation options, including direct or simple cremation, veteran’s services, and more.

Contact us if you need an urn for your loved one or cremation services today.