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Scattering Ashes at Sea

The popularity of scattering a loved one’s ashes at sea is steadily growing as people look to the organic nature of the ocean to help them bring closure to the loss of a loved one with a green burial. Scattering the ashes at sea combines a sense of finality and a sense of new beginning. It returns us to nature and the origin of our being.


Many people choose the sea as the special place for their loved one to have their remains scattered into the wind. This is normally done for those who loved the ocean, whether it was sailing, fishing, or just sitting and watching the waves roll in. There are other choices that you may prefer if you are considering scattering your loved ones ashes but do not want to do it out in the ocean.


Scattering ashes is a very common practice but it is also final so you must be certain that you are happy with your choice. One of the wonderful things about cremation is that you do not have to make a decision immediately. You can reflect on your loved one until you find the perfect place to scatter their ashes.


Heritage Cremation Provider’s Sea Placement
Unattended - Heritage Cremation Provider will provide a respectful and dignified service for you if you cannot attend the scattering of the ashes. We will travel at least 3 miles off the coast, as is required, and scatter the ashes for you. Following the scattering of the ashes, we place flowers on the water to mark the spot where the ashes were spread. You will receive a certificate with the exact coordinates that we recorded.


Attended - If you like to attend the scattering services on the ocean we will provide arrangements for a charter vessel that takes up to 6 family members and friends out on the ocean for the service. We put you in direct contact with the charter services so you can coordinate the timing of the services.


Urn Placement in the Ocean
You do not have to scatter your loved one’s ashes into the wind if you want an ocean burial. You can purchase a biodegradable urn that can be placed in the water. These can be found in Heritage Cremation Providers and may provide you some peace if you did not want your loved one’s ashes blown into the wind.

A Sea Scattering By Yourself

  • If you have access to a boat, you can certainly scatter your loved one’s ashes in the sea yourself. Just keep in mind that while you may not require a permit you are required to go at least 3 miles off the coast if you are scattering the ashes or placing an urn in the water
  • U.S. Code states that you should notify the EPA of the details
  • ┬áRemember to bring flowers
  • Keep a record of the location where you placed the ashes
  • Try to keep your back to the wind if you choose to scatter the ashes, this way you reduce the chances of having the ashes blow back on you or the boat


Scattering the Ashes Over Land
Scattering your loved one’s ashes can be done over land as well as over the sea. There are certain rules that apply however and these vary by state.

  • Most common laws state that you will require permission to scatter ashes on public property
  • You will need the owners’ permission if you want to scatter the ashes on private property that is not yours
  • Most national parks will give you a special permit to scatter the ashes in the park, there is a small fee for this
  • Keep your back to the wind so there is no blow back of the ashes and you are sure that all of the ashes take flight into the wind
  • You may also receive permission to bury a biodegradable urn if you prefer


It is best to choose scattering the ashes over land if your loved one was an outdoor land lover. There are many places that you can choose, if your loved one enjoyed hiking or camping you can scatter their remains in their favorite place to hike or where they loved to camp. Just remember to follow the rules of the place you choose. If you are burying an urn there may be restrictions on how far down you need to bury it, if scattering, all you need to be concerned with is the direction of the wind and if there are other people present.


Tips for Scattering Over land

  • Try to choose a place that is not well traveled as you might worry about someone walking on your loved one’s ashes
  • If you are using an urn, bury it at the depth required so no animal will disturb it
  • You can always plant a natural species of plant in the spot where you scattered the ashes or buried the urn
  • It is nice to scatter flower petals if you are not planting


Disclaimer: The information provided here by Heritage Cremation Provider is to the best of our knowledge. Please check with your state to see about any unknown regulations.