Saying goodbye to a loved one is a deeply personal part of the grieving process. Some may decide to store the departed’s cremated remains in a keepsake urn, or scatter it in the sea. No matter how you pay tribute to the deceased, it is important to do it with honor and care.

In the US, the numbers show that Americans opting for cremation will grow to 79.1% by 2035. People are leaning towards cremation after death instead of the traditional burial. If you or your loved one have decided on cremation, then scattering the cremated ashes in the sea may be something you will consider.

Can you legally scatter ashes in the US?

The short answer is yes. However, it is still important to proceed with caution.

Each state in America has its own laws, and it is best to consult with an official before making arrangements. As you plan a final tribute to the departed, be sure to check with federal and state laws. 

Scattering ashes over land on private property is a different matter. Most states permit this, provided that the land over gives their permission. If you are planning to scatter over public land, be sure to consult with the appropriate government agency.

An example is Texas. The law in that state permits a person to scatter cremated remains over uninhabited public land. Texas also allows scattering of cremated remains over sea or a public waterway, as well as on the private property of a consenting owner. Their only reminder is to take the cremated remains out of the container before being scattered, unless the urn or container is biodegradable.

California, on the other hand, provides for a specific location. California’s law states that ashes may only be scattered or disposed of over a cemetery scattering garden. It is also important that there is no local prohibition, and that there is written permission from the landowner of the agency that governs over the said land.

Scattering ashes over water in the US

The Federal Clean Water Act provides the requirement that cremated ashes should be scattered at least three nautical miles from land. The same law is also followed in terms of scattering of cremated remains in inland waters, such as lakes and rivers.

Inland water burials have a requisite of obtaining a permit from the governing agency that oversees the waterway.

It is also required that the cremated remains must be in an urn or container that will decompose easily. Otherwise, the container must be properly and separately disposed of.

We recommend getting a keepsake urn to store a small portion of your loved one’s ashes. For the scattering of the ashes ceremony, you can just use a disposable and temporary container. 

Another option is to scatter cremated remains by air. 

Scattering ashes by air has the least restrictions by law. Many states are silent on this, but federal law does indicate that dropping any objects or items that may harm or injure others or their property is prohibited. Just make sure to dispose of the urn or temporary ashes container after the ceremony.

The best way to celebrate the life of a loved one is to say your final goodbyes with care and respect. No matter where the departed’s final resting place may be, they will remain in your hearts and minds.

If you are looking for a keepsake urn to store a small portion of your beloved’s ashes, feel free to send us a message. We will be more than happy to help you find the right urn for your loved one. You can also look at our collection and find one that pays tribute to the departed’s memory.