Getting buried at sea has gained popularity in recent years, as a trend showed 162 people in California getting a full-body burial at sea in 2020.
While this is much more than in past years, scattering ashes at sea is actually done more often than full-body burials. It has been a popular way to say goodbye to a loved one for hundreds of years.
If you’re considering scattering ashes at sea, there are some things you should know first.
Read on to learn more.
1. Laws and Regulations
The first question you may be asking yourself is, “can I scatter ashes at sea?”.
Yes, it is legal to scatter ashes at sea. But, if you scatter them within five miles of the coast, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has strict rules for scattering ashes at sea that must be followed.
You can only put items in the sea that can be easily broken down. This means any additional things you may have along with the ashes, such as an urn or a wreath, must be biodegradable.
Flowers are allowed as long as they are real and can decompose easily. You should avoid anything that may affect wildlife or cause litter.
If you want to scatter a pet’s ashes at sea, you must first get a permit. You do not need to obtain a permit when scattering human ashes, but you do need to report it to the EPA within 30 days of the burial.
2. Planning Tips
When considering how to scatter ashes at sea, you’ll find that it’s a burial that requires a plan.
First, you’ll want to plan around the weather. Scattering ashes at sea during a windy day is never a good idea. While it’s difficult to know what the weather will do, it’s best if you can work around it.
Bring something that can show you which way the wind is blowing, such as a ribbon. Make sure everyone is standing upwind.
Place the ashes as close to the surface water as possible. Wait for the wind to calm down if you can.
You’ll also need to consider transportation. If you will be using a boat, you can contact an ash scattering service, or you can rent one for a more private experience.
Some people scatter ashes from a plane, but this should only be done with a professional service.
3. Ceremony Ideas
There are many different ways you can scatter ashes at sea.
You can do a sunset ceremony, having everyone in kayaks or small canoes form a circle and then taking turns placing the ashes in the water.
There are also nighttime ceremonies, where biodegradable flower wreaths and lanterns are used to light up the night while scattering the ashes at sea.
You may also be able to do a spreading ashes ceremony at the beach, depending on the beach’s local rules and regulations. While you can’t actually scatter them on the beach, you can place them in the water as the tide comes in.
This is an excellent alternative if you’d rather not go out in the water.
Read These Tips Before Scattering Ashes at Sea
Scattering ashes at sea is a wonderful way to celebrate someone’s life, but it requires a bit of planning. Use these tips and tricks to help make the ceremony as memorable as possible.
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