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How to Scatter Ashes at the Beach

The ocean holds a special meaning for many people. Often, people choose to scatter ashes at the beach to honor loved ones who were in the Navy, Coastguard, or Marines. Some choose it as a final resting place for fishermen or those who loved the sea. Because these ceremonies differ from typical funerals, many people have questions about how to scatter ashes at the beach. 

While you can’t scatter ashes directly on the beach, you can take them onto a boat and scatter them on the open water. Burial at sea is legal as long as you abide by the EPA guidelines under the MPRSA general permit for burial at sea, which states that ashes must be at least 3 nautical miles offshore.  We recommend choosing an ash scattering service that operates in compliance with these guidelines. This frees you to focus on your family or friends during the ceremony.

In this post, we offer ideas, poems, prayers, and Bible verses that you can add to your ocean ash scattering.

Table of Contents

Burial at Sea Ceremony Ideas
Prayers for Burial at Sea
Poems for Ocean Ash Scattering
Bible Verses for Ocean Burial

A burial at sea stands as the perfect way to reflect on the lives and loves of individuals who felt a special connection with oceans and seashores. 

Burial at Sea Ceremony Ideas

Burial-at-sea ceremonies can be conducted together at the dock before setting out to sea, or at some other designated location. With attended burial-at-sea scatterings, a ceremony could also be held on the boat itself during the trip (observing the boat’s passenger limit).

Scattering Ceremony

Many families will want to take an active part in scattering the ashes of their loved ones. In some ceremonies, someone is designated to release the ashes, while in other ceremonies, guests will take a portion of the ashes to scatter individually. Guests may choose to share something before they release the ashes, or the group may choose to release the separated ashes all at once.

Lighting candles or casting flowers, petals, or wreaths on the water along with the ashes are all lovely choices. This gives the family a beautiful, lasting scene to gaze upon as they finish their ceremony and celebration of life. There may be music played, memories shared and glasses raised in honor of the deceased.

Floating Ceremony

In this ceremony, as opposed to physically scattering the ashes over open water, the cremation ash is placed in a specially designed water-soluble urn. (These can be found on several online sites.) The urns can be simple or very ornate, according to your taste.

After, or as a part of, the memorial, the urn is placed in the water. The urn floats for a couple of minutes before it begins to sink and dissolve. To conclude the ceremony, guests will often toss live flowers, petals, or wreaths into the water as one final tribute.

Prayers for Burial at Sea

The following prayers for a burial at sea ceremony offer hope and comfort. 

Excerpt from Burial at Sea prayer from The Book of Common Prayer (1928) of the Protestant Episcopal Church

Burial at Sea

The Book of Common Prayer (1928) of the Protestant Episcopal Church (Source)

Unto Almighty God, we commend the soul of our brother departed, and we commit his body to the deep; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection unto eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ; at whose coming in glorious majesty to judge the world, the sea shall give up her dead; and the corruptible bodies of those who sleep in him shall be changed, and made like unto his glorious body; according to the mighty working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself.

A Fisherman's Prayer Graphic

Fisherman’s Prayer

Anonymous

God grant that I may live to fish for another shining day. 
But when my final cast is made I then most humbly pray, 
When nestled in your landing net as I lay peacefully asleep, 
You’ll smile and judge that I’m ‘good enough to keep’.”

Excerpt from  The Lord's Prayer Bible verse

The Lord’s Prayer 

Matthew 6:9-13, KJV (Source)

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
forever and ever.
Amen.

Poems for Ocean Ash Scattering

These poems focus on the beauty of the ocean as a final resting place.

"Immersing my soul in water where first life and memory began." excerpt from Burial at Sea poem by John Companiotte

Burial at Sea

By John Companiotte (Source)

There will I lie, 
Forever with a moving element,
Not sunk in the leaden earth
Missing the sullen music of whales
For a lullaby to soothe my sleep.
Small fish with vermilion scales,
Haloing wide purple faces, will dart
In and out of my long dream
With no disturbance, their colors
Shimmering and enlivening my eyes
Closed to the pink revelry of dawn.
The swell of the shifting current
Will tug at my stuffed shirt, waking 
Me from being human, immersing
My soul in water where first
Life and memory began.

A Fisherman's Prayer by Jeanette Hoppes

A Fisherman’s Prayer

By Jeannette Hoppes (Source)

God grant me a little more time
To pick up my rod, and cast my line.
Work and worry disappear
When I pick up my fishing gear.
With boat on trailer, I will go
Anywhere the fishing’s not too slow.
Work just doesn’t seem so fine
When I see what’s at the end of my fishing line.
When I am feeble, old and grey
Please don’t take my pole away.
When the Pearly Gates open wide
Please find this old fisherman, one good lake inside!

"Down to the unfathom'd realms, where hidded fountains flow..." excerpt from Burial at Sea Poem by Mrs. L.H. Sigourney

Burial at Sea

Mrs. L.H. Sigourney (Source)

Down to the unfathom’d realms,
Where hidden fountains flow,
Alone, his silent couch to find,
The child of earth must go.
For him no funeral bell
May weeping friends convene,
Nor dust, to kindred dust be laid
Within the church-yard green.
Farewell! one heavy plunge!
One cleft in ocean’s floor!

Bible Verses for Ocean Burial

These Bible verses celebrate faith and the hope of heaven.

"...they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep." -Psalm 107:23-24

Psalm 107:23-24 (ESV)

“Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep.”

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." - Matthew 5:4

Matthew 5:4 (ESV)

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

Psalm 46: 1-3 (ESV)

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah.”

How to Scatter Ashes at the Beach

To plan a beautiful ocean burial, we recommend choosing a service that follows the MPRSA general permit for burial at sea. Then, you can plan a beautiful service that reflects on the life of your loved one. At Rest Ashured, we offer both attended and unattended burial at sea options

If you choose an attended ceremony, we will put you in direct contact with a boat captain to schedule the special day and time. On your scheduled day, you will meet him at the boat slip to begin your time on the water. 

If you choose an unattended ceremony, the boat captain will respectfully scatter your loved one’s ashes on your behalf. This is typically done within 30 days, and we will inform you on the day of release. 

Our sea scattering locations include the Outer Banks, North Carolina, Topsail Island, North Carolina, and Virginia Beach, Virginia. 
We’re here to make the process as smooth as possible. If you have any questions about how to scatter ashes at the beach, please get in touch with us by calling 434-534-4007 or emailing us info@restashured.com.

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Everything You Need to Scatter Ashes at Sea

Burial at Sea

As you decide what to do with your loved one’s remains, you may want to consider a burial at sea. This beautiful ceremony releases cremation ash into open water. If you’d like to scatter ashes at sea, there are several options and guidelines to consider. 

Table of Contents

Plan an Ocean Burial
How do I request a burial at sea?
Your Options: Scattering Ashes at Sea
Can you Scatter Ashes in the ocean?
How to Scatter Ashes at Sea
Your Options: Scatter Ashes on the beach
Can you scatter ashes on the beach?
How to Scatter Ashes at the Beach
Selecting Sea Burial Services
How much does it cost to be buried at sea?
Burial at Sea Ceremony Ideas
Prayers for Burial at Sea
Poems for Ocean Ash Scattering
Bible Verses for Ocean Burial

We recommend working with a planning service to ensure that you comply with EPA regulations. Also, it frees you to focus on the memorial service. If you’re planning one of these ceremonies common questions include: 

  • Is it illegal to put ashes in the ocean?
  • What are the rules for burial at sea?
  • What should I bring for an ocean burial?
  • What should I say during the memorial ceremony?

This guide reviews the most popular questions and our recommendations for a smooth, simple release.

Plan an Ocean Burial

When you dispose of human remains in the ocean, this is classified as a burial at sea. Often, people imagine military funeral services conducted by the United States Navy. However, there are private options available to anyone. 

How do I request a burial at sea?

If you are interested in a private ceremony, you can contact a company that provides these services. For example, we offer both attended and unattended ceremonies through Rest Ashured. 

Your Options: Scattering Ashes at Sea

Using a boat, cremation ashes can be scattered on the water or floated in a biodegradable urn. 

Can you Scatter Ashes at sea?

Yes, but you must follow EPA regulations. Cremated remains must be buried at least three nautical miles from land. You may use flowers or wreaths that are readily decomposable in the marine environment. 

You must notify the EPA within 30 days following your event. All burials at sea conducted under the MPRSA general permit must be reported to the EPA Region from which the vessel carrying the remains departed.

Procedure From EPA.gov

“A burial at sea of non-cremated and cremated human remains may be reported to EPA using the Burial at Sea Reporting Tool. The Burial at Sea Reporting Tool enables individuals or companies that have conducted a burial at sea to enter information into a simple online form and report the burial directly to EPA. For information about the Burial at Sea Reporting Tool including instructions for reporting one or multiple burials at sea, please see the Burial at Sea Reporting Tool Fact Sheet. Please note that you do not need to submit documentation, such as a Certificate of Death, to EPA when reporting a burial at sea.

To report a burial of human remains by other means, please contact the EPA Region where the vessel carrying the remains departed. To identify the appropriate EPA Regional contact, please see EPA’s Regional Offices Contact List.”

Restrictions From EPA.gov:

“The following activity is not allowed under the MPRSA general permit for burial at sea:

  • Burying human remains in ocean waters within three nautical miles from shore, i.e., the ordinary low water mark or a closing line drawn on nautical charts across the openings of bays and rivers.
  • Burial of non-human remains (such as pet remains).
  • Placement of materials which are not readily decomposable in the marine environment, such as plastic or metal flowers and wreaths, tombs, tombstones, gravestones, monuments, mausoleums, artificial reefs, etc.

Any such activity would require an application for an MPRSA special permit.”

How to Scatter Ashes at Sea


Most people choose between a scattering ceremony and a floating ceremony. 

  • Scattering Ceremony: The family takes an active part in scattering the ashes of their loved one. You can designate a single person to release the ashes. In other ceremonies, guests will take a portion of the ashes to scatter. Guests may choose to share a word before they release the ashes. Also, the group may choose to release the separated ashes together.
  • Floating Ceremony: You place the cremation ash in a specially-designed water-soluble urn. The urns can be simple or ornate. As a part of the memorial, you place the urn in the water. The urn floats for several minutes before it begins to sink. 

Often, guests speak kind words or scatter flowers to conclude these ceremonies.

Your Options: Scatter Ashes on the beach

You cannot legally scatter ashes on the beach. Instead, you must schedule a boat to take you more than three nautical miles from the shore. Then, you can follow the regulations stated in the above section. 

Can you scatter ashes on the beach?

No, you must scatter ashes on open water. 

How to Scatter Ashes at the Beach

You must find a boat captain to take you an appropriate distance from the shore. They must abide by the EPA guidelines under the MPRSA general permit for burial at sea. This includes the proper reporting of the burial as noted in the section above.

Selecting Sea Burial Services

As you plan your service, several decisions influence your burial at sea cost. These include:

  • Scattering Location
  • Service Type such as attended or unattended
  • Ceremony format such as a scattering ceremony or a floating ceremony.

You can customize these choices to create a special day. 

How much does it cost to be buried at sea?

The simplicity of a burial at sea ceremony offers an affordable way to say goodbye. 

General costs often include:

  • Direct Cremation: $1,500 is the U.S. average according to Parting.com. Many Virginia crematories offer services at a slightly lower rate.
  • Memorial or Celebration of Life Cards: Memorial cards or program printing ranges from $0.54 each at Shutterfly to $0.99 each at Walgreens.
  • Local Obituary: Announcements may cost between $100 – $800 according to Legacy.com.
  • Vessels or Urns: Most of the time, an urn is included in your cost of cremation. However, you may need a water-soluble urn if you choose a floating ceremony. Cost varies by manufacturer with options less than $200.

Unattended Ceremony costs include:

  • Postage, packaging, shipping, and handling fees 
  • Boat and Captain Reservation 

Attended Ceremony costs include:

  • Initial Cremation 
  • Travel & Lodging 
  • Boat and Captain Reservation

Use an ash scattering service provider to simplify some of these details.

Burial at Sea Ceremony Ideas

With attended burial-at-sea scatterings, a ceremony may be held on the boat during the trip. We’ve collected poems, prayers, and verses to inspire your service. 

Burial at Sea Prayers

You can read these prayers during your ceremony.

Burial at Sea

The Book of Common Prayer (1928) of the Protestant Episcopal Church (Source)

Unto Almighty God, we commend the soul of our brother departed, and we commit his body to the deep; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection unto eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ; at whose coming in glorious majesty to judge the world, the sea shall give up her dead; and the corruptible bodies of those who sleep in him shall be changed, and made like unto his glorious body; according to the mighty working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself.

Fisherman’s Prayer

Anonymous

God grant that I may live to fish for another shining day. 
But when my final cast is made I then most humbly pray, 
When nestled in your landing net as I lay peacefully asleep, 
You’ll smile and judge that I’m ‘good enough to keep’.”

The Lord’s Prayer 

Matthew 6:9-13, KJV (Source)

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
forever and ever.
Amen.

Poems to Scatter Ashes at Sea

These poems celebrate the sea as a final resting place.

Burial at Sea

By John Companiotte (Source)

There will I lie, 
Forever with a moving element,
Not sunk in the leaden earth
Missing the sullen music of whales
For a lullaby to soothe my sleep.
Small fish with vermilion scales,
Haloing wide purple faces, will dart
In and out of my long dream
With no disturbance, their colors
Shimmering and enlivening my eyes
Closed to the pink revelry of dawn.
The swell of the shifting current
Will tug at my stuffed shirt, waking 
Me from being human, immersing
My soul in water where first
Life and memory began.

A Fisherman’s Prayer

By Jeannette Hoppes (Source)

God grant me a little more time
To pick up my rod, and cast my line.
Work and worry disappear
When I pick up my fishing gear.
With boat on trailer, I will go
Anywhere the fishing’s not too slow.
Work just doesn’t seem so fine
When I see what’s at the end of my fishing line.
When I am feeble, old and grey
Please don’t take my pole away.
When the Pearly Gates open wide
Please find this old fisherman, one good lake inside!

Burial at Sea

Mrs. L.H. Sigourney (Source)

Down to the unfathom’d realms,
Where hidden fountains flow,
Alone, his silent couch to find,
The child of earth must go.
For him no funeral bell
May weeping friends convene,
Nor dust, to kindred dust be laid
Within the church-yard green.
Farewell! one heavy plunge!
One cleft in ocean’s floor!

Bible Verses for Ocean Burial

Celebrating faith, these verses remember the hope of heaven.

Psalm 107:23-24 (ESV)

“Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep.”

Matthew 5:4 (ESV)

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Psalm 46: 1-3 (ESV)

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah.”

Scatter Ashes at Sea

Choosing a service that follows the MPRSA general permit for burial at sea will simplify your planning process. Then, you can enjoy a beautiful service that reflects on the life of your loved one. At Rest Ashured, our scattering locations include the Outer Banks, North Carolina, Topsail Island, North Carolina, and Virginia Beach, Virginia. We offer both attended and unattended burial at sea options

If you choose an attended ceremony, we will connect you with a boat captain. He’ll work with you to pick your special day. On your scheduled day,  you will meet him at the boat slip to begin your ceremony. 

If you choose an unattended ceremony, the boat captain will set a time to respectfully scatter your loved one’s remains. We will inform you on the day of release. Most of the time, this is within 30 days. 
We make the process as smooth as possible. Please get in touch with us by calling 434-534-4007 or emailing us info@restashured.com.

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Can You Spread Ashes in the Ocean?

If your loved one enjoyed the sea, you might consider scattering their ashes at the shore. You may be wondering, “Can you spread ashes in the ocean?” 


Yes, you can. There are several meaningful options to scatter ashes in the sea. However, you must follow specific guidelines for each type of ceremony.

Table of Contents

Plan an Ocean Burial
How Do I Request a Burial at Sea?
Your Options: Scattering Ashes at Sea
Your Options: Scattering Ashes on the Beach

There are two common misconceptions about Burial at Sea. First, many people assume you can simply scatter ashes on the beach or in the ocean. However, the EPA regulates burial at sea. You must follow their specific guidelines. 

Second, people think it only applies to members of the United States Navy. While you must meet certain requirements for a free military burial at sea, anyone can hold a private ceremony. You just need to follow the EPA’s guidelines. 

Anyone can plan a burial at sea ceremony. First, determine whether you qualify for a military ceremony or if you must conduct a private ceremony. Then, you can review your options for scattering ashes at sea. 

Plan an Ocean Burial

By definition, burial at sea includes any disposal of human remains in the ocean. Many people think of military funeral services conducted by the United States Navy. However, there are private options available to civilians. 

How Do I Request a Burial at Sea?

There are two ways to request a burial at sea. If you qualify for a Navy burial at sea, you must contact the Veterans Affairs Office. If you are interested in a private ceremony, you can contact a company that provides these services. 

Q: Who qualifies for burial at sea?

Anyone can be buried at sea. There are two ways people can be buried at sea: military services or private services. 

Navy Burial at Sea

In the US, people eligible for a free Navy burial at sea are:

  • Active-duty members of the uniformed services
  • Retirees and honorably discharged veterans
  • Military Sealift Command U.S. civilian marine personnel
  • Family members of the above

For more information, please contact the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

Service Format

To begin, the officer of the deck calls All hands bury the dead. They stop the ship and lower the ship’s flags to half-mast. Then, the ship’s crew assemble on the deck. They stand in parade rest at the beginning of the ceremony. Next, they cover the coffin with an American flag which is carried feet first on deck. Then, they place the casket on a stand, with the feet overboard. For cremated remains, the urn is brought on deck and placed on a stand.

A Navy chaplain or a commanding officer conducts the religious portion of the ceremony. Typically, they read scripture and say a prayer. 

Next, they order the firing party with “Firing party, present arms”. The casket bearers tilt the platform with the casket. The casket slides off the platform into the ocean and the draped flag remains on board. 

For cremated remains, they may bury the remains similarly using the urn. Some choose to scatter the ashes into the wind.

Finally, the firing party fires a three volley salute and the bugler plays Taps. The ceremony ends when they fold the flag. 

Afterward, the deceased relatives are informed of the time and location of the burial.

Civilian or Private Burial at Sea

If you do not qualify for the Navy Burial at Sea, you may plan a private burial at sea service. These can be performed by ship or aircraft. Cremated ashes are the most common form of burial. They can be scattered on the water or floated using a biodegradable urn. There are even some people who have chosen to mix ashes in concrete and have them added to an artificial reef such as the Atlantis Reef. 

Service Format

Most people choose between a scattering ceremony and a floating ceremony. 

In a scattering ceremony, the family takes an active part in scattering the ashes of their loved one. You can designate a single person to release the ashes. In other ceremonies, guests will take a portion of the ashes to scatter. Guests may choose to share something before they release the ashes. Also, the group may choose to release the separated ashes together instead.

Often, people light candles or cast flowers along with the ashes. This gives the family a beautiful memory as they finish their ceremony.

In a floating ceremony, you place the cremation ash in a specially designed water-soluble urn. The urns can be simple or ornate, according to your taste.

After, or as a part of, the memorial, you place the urn in the water. The urn floats for several minutes before it begins to sink. To conclude the ceremony, guests can toss live flowers, petals, or wreaths into the water.

Q: Can I be buried at sea?

Anyone can be buried at sea. It’s a beautiful way to celebrate fisherman, boaters, or even beach lovers. 

Your Options: Scattering Ashes at Sea

There are legal guidelines to follow for scattering ashes at sea. The EPA needs documentation of your burial at sea service. We recommend working with an ash scattering service company. This frees you to focus on the ceremony with your family and friends.

Can You Spread Ashes in the Ocean?

To scatter ashes in the ocean, you must follow EPA regulations. These guidelines include limits to where you can scatter ashes and how to properly report the burial.

How to Scatter Ashes at Sea

According to the EPA, cremated remains must be buried in or on ocean waters of any depth. This burial must be at least three nautical miles from land. You may use flowers or wreaths that are readily decomposable in the marine environment. This excludes plastic flowers and synthetic wreaths.

Within 30 days following your event, you must notify EPA. All burials at sea conducted under the MPRSA general permit must be reported to the EPA Region from which the vessel carrying the remains departed.

Procedure From EPA.gov

“A burial at sea of non-cremated and cremated human remains may be reported to EPA using the Burial at Sea Reporting Tool. The Burial at Sea Reporting Tool enables individuals or companies that have conducted a burial at sea to enter information into a simple online form and report the burial directly to EPA. For information about the Burial at Sea Reporting Tool including instructions for reporting one or multiple burials at sea, please see the Burial at Sea Reporting Tool Fact Sheet. Please note that you do not need to submit documentation, such as a Certificate of Death, to EPA when reporting a burial at sea.

To report a burial of human remains by other means, please contact the EPA Region where the vessel carrying the remains departed. To identify the appropriate EPA Regional contact, please see EPA’s Regional Offices Contact List.”

Restrictions From EPA.gov:

“The following activity is not allowed under the MPRSA general permit for burial at sea:

  • Burying human remains in ocean waters within three nautical miles from shore, i.e., the ordinary low water mark or a closing line drawn on nautical charts across the openings of bays and rivers.
  • Burial of non-human remains (such as pet remains).
  • Placement of materials which are not readily decomposable in the marine environment, such as plastic or metal flowers and wreaths, tombs, tombstones, gravestones, monuments, mausoleums, artificial reefs, etc.

Any such activity would require an application for an MPRSA special permit.”

Your Options: Scatter Ashes at the Beach

Although you may be fond of a particular pier or dune, you cannot legally scatter ashes on the beach. You must secure a boat to take you out more than three nautical miles from the shore. Then, you can follow the regulations stated in the above section. 

Can you scatter ashes on the beach?

No, you must scatter ashes on ocean water. While you can’t scatter ashes directly on the beach, you can take them onto a boat and scatter them on the open water. These ceremonies create a lovely tribute to someone who loved the ocean. 

How to scatter ashes at the beach

If you want to scatter ashes at the beach, you must secure a boat captain to take you out to open water at the appropriate distance from the shore. They must abide by the EPA guidelines under the MPRSA general permit for burial at sea. This includes the proper reporting of the burial as noted in the section above.

Scattering Ashes at Sea

Can you spread ashes in the ocean? Yes! You can plan a beautiful service that reflects on the life of your loved one. 

We recommend choosing a service that follows the MPRSA general permit for burial at sea. Our scattering locations include the Outer Banks, North Carolina, Topsail Island, North Carolina, and Virginia Beach, Virginia.  At Rest Ashured, we offer both attended and unattended burial at sea options

Attended Ceremony

We will put you in direct contact with a boat captain to schedule the special day and time. On your scheduled day,  you will meet him at the boat slip to begin your time on the water. 

Unattended Ceremony

The boat captain will respectfully scatter your loved one’s ashes on your behalf. This is typically done within 30 days. We will inform you on the day of release. 

Can You Spread Ashes in the Ocean?

Yes, you can request a burial at sea for anyone. We’re here to help make that possible and can answer any questions including, “Can You Spread Ashes in the Ocean?” Please get in touch with us. Call 434-534-4007 or email us at info@restashured.com.

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How Much Does Burial at Sea Cost?

If you want to honor a person that loved the ocean, a burial at sea service offers a beautiful way to say goodbye. These services differ from traditional funeral plans in several ways. First, you have to choose a scattering location on a body of water with a burial at sea service that follows the EPA guidelines under the MPRSA general permit for burial at sea. Then, you must decide on the various options that influence your burial at sea cost.

The cost of burial at sea includes the initial cremation, announcements, and the actual ceremony. First, you would ask for direct cremation with no additional services from the funeral home or crematorium. They will provide a simple vessel or urn with your loved one’s ashes. 

Second, you would decide how you would like to announce your loved one’s passing. Most people choose to announce this in several ways. Many place an obituary in the newspaper for friends and family who value traditional announcements. 

Often, people like to create personalized memorial cards that they can mail to relatives and close friends. These can also be used as part of the ceremony program if you decide to have an attended service. They become lovely keepsakes. 

Also, informal social media announcements, such as on Facebook, are a common way to pass along information and allow people to communicate their sympathy. You might do this when you turn their Facebook profile into a memorial profile

Finally, you’ll need to select burial at sea services from a company that handles these events. 

Table of Contents

Selecting Burial at Sea Services
General Burial at Sea costs
Unattended Ceremony Costs
Attended Ceremony Costs

These services follow a different process than traditional funeral arrangements. Instead of working with a funeral home from beginning to end, you will take possession of your loved one’s ashes after cremation. Then, you will begin arranging your burial at sea ceremony. 

Because you are scattering ashes, you also have more time to plan the memorial and set the date. Some even choose to delay the service until after they have mourned for a period of time.

You can take your loved one’s ashes onto a boat and scatter them on the open water as long as you abide by the EPA guidelines. We recommend choosing an ash scattering service that operates in compliance with these guidelines. This frees you to focus on your family and friends during the ceremony. 

Selecting Sea Burial Services

As you plan your burial at sea service, you can tailor the ceremony to suit your situation. Several decisions influence your burial at sea cost. These include:

  • Scattering Location
  • Service Type such as attended or unattended
  • Ceremony format such as a scattering ceremony or a floating ceremony.

Each of these choices allows you to customize your ceremony to celebrate the life of your loved one. 

How much does it cost to be buried at sea?

In general, burial at sea is less expensive than a traditional funeral. To begin, the cost of cremation is lower than other funeral home services. Also, the simplicity of a burial at sea ceremony lowers your total expense. 

Burial at Sea costs often include:

  • Direct Cremation: $1,500 is the U.S. average according to Parting.com. However, Virginia crematories offer services at a slightly lower rate.
  • Memorial or Celebration of Life Cards: Printing memorial cards or programs ranges from $0.54 each at Shutterfly to $0.99 each at Walgreens.
  • Local Obituary: Announcements can cost between $100 – $800 according to Legacy.com.
  • Vessels or Urns: Typically, an urn is included in your cost of cremation. However, you may need a water-soluble urn if you choose a floating ceremony. For example, The Living Urn offers an Eco Water Urn for $139.

Unattended Ceremony costs include:

  • Postage, packaging, shipping, and handling fees 
  • Boat and Captain Reservation 

Attended Ceremony costs include:

  • Initial Cremation 
  • Travel & Lodging 
  • Boat and Captain Reservation

If you’d like to simplify the cost of cremation and burial at sea, consider using a service that offers packages to help plan and facilitate your service. 

Cost of Cremation and Burial at Sea

At Rest Ashured, we offer packages for both attended and unattended burial at sea services. Our unattended services cost $375 and our attended services start at $475. 

Pinterest Graphic: Burial at Sea Cost

Our process is simple. For an attended ceremony, we connect you with a boat captain to schedule the day and time for your ash scattering at sea. You will meet him at the boat slip on your scheduled day. 

For an unattended ceremony, the boat captain will schedule a time to respectfully scatter your loved one’s ashes. We will inform you on the day of release. This typically occurs within 30 days.

Our scattering locations include the Outer Banks, North Carolina, Topsail Island, North Carolina, and Virginia Beach, Virginia. 
If you have any questions about how to scatter ashes at the beach, please get in touch with us by calling 434-534-4007 or emailing us info@restashured.com.

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Why Scatter Ashes at Sea

Ocean Water

With the rising popularity of cremations, burial at sea ceremonies, or scattering ashes at sea, is also becoming more common. Oftentimes, land burials can be burdensome and expensive for the deceased’s family.

People move, which can make it hard for them to visit a fixed grave. However, having one’s ashes buried at sea fixes this because there is no central location where the remains are located. Because of this, every time family members visit the sea they can think about their loved ones.

What is a Sea Scattering?

ocean funeral with boats on the water

A burial at sea, or scattering at sea, is where you either directly scatter the ashes, or place your loved one’s ashes in a biodegradable urn and let it sink to the ocean floor.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and federal law these services must take place at least 3 nautical miles from land. You also have to make sure that you don’t use any material during your ceremony that won’t break down quickly in the water.

Often, your family and friends accompany you on the boat to be present during the ceremony to sink or scatter the cremated remains.

Rivers, Lakes, And Other Countries

Scattering in rivers or other inland waters depends on the laws and regulations of the state the body of water is located in. Make sure you do research on particular states laws, and don’t trespass on private property to scatter ashes.

Other countries have different requirements for scattering ashes in the ocean than the United States does. Make sure you do your research on their scattering laws, as well as the best practices for travelling with ashes.

Why Do A Sea Scattering?

It’s Less Expensive

A standard burial can be expensive. Most of the time, these burials cost around $10,000 or more, depending on how much planning your loved one did in advance. Because of this, families will most likely need to save up (or even take out a loan) to afford the funeral.

However, cremation and scattering one’s ashes at sea can cost exceptionally less. Scattering one’s ashes at sea with Rest Ashured costs around $375, which is 20 times less expensive than regular burials. This adds a lot more flexibility to the ceremony, and will be less burdensome on one’s family.

Scattering Ashes is More Flexible

As stated above, scattering ashes can be a lot easier for the family members when considering visiting the deceased. However, scattering ashes at sea can make the process logistically easier in other ways, too.

For one, there is a longer timetable to spread ashes than there is with a ground burial. Once the deceased is cremated, family members can wait for a suitable time to spread the ashes. This makes it easier for family members to attend the ceremony, as they will have more time to schedule it.

Scattering ashes at sea also makes the ceremony less painful to plan. A standard burial requires a great deal of planning and decision-making. In the case of a casket burial, the deceased’s family would have to plan where to hold the ceremony, where to host the reception, organize extended family, and negotiate with a funeral home.

On the other hand, scattering one’s ashes at sea only requires cremation and coordinating a date with Rest Ashured for scattering either in Virginia Beach, Topsail Island, North Carolina, or in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

In general, cremation is both simpler and less expensive than traditional burial. Burial at sea is a great option for your loved one who loved the beach, loved fishing, or was a Navy or Coast Guard veteran. 

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Memorial Stones and Moving Forward

River Rock Memorial Stone

It may sound silly that a personalized memorial stone could help someone move beyond their grief from the loss of a loved one, but it’s true. One of the most difficult stages of grief is the last – acceptance and moving on. Many people feel that moving on means they are forgetting, or that their loved one didn’t matter as much as they really did. Looking at someone else going through the cycle, it seems irrational to think such a way, but to the person going through it, nothing can be further from the truth.

So where do memorial stones come in? They are a tangible way to express your love and devotion for all of time, and they can be used in a multitude of ways, depending on your preference. Memorial stones can be personalized with names, dates, quotes, poems – really anything you can imagine. They serve as a perfect memorial to a departed loved one.

Memorial Garden Stones

Memorial Rock Example
Engraved Memorial Stones

For those who are afraid of “forgetting-to-remember,” the memorial garden stones can serve as both a memorial and a remembrance. Placed in your garden or walkway by your home, a personalized memorial stone can bring sweet memories of times past and reassurance in yourself that you are going to make it. Every time you walk past it, it gets a little bit easier. You can choose from any number of custom engraved memorial decorative stones to suit your specific needs and location.

Scattering Garden Memorial Stones

While some want their memorial stone to stay close by, where they can see it daily, others wish to use the stone as a permanent marker for where their loved one’s ashes lay. This is often done in what’s called a scatter garden, like Rest Ashured, where the ashes are released. A cremation scattering garden is what it’s also called, and this is a beautifully decorated area where you can scatter the ashes in a calm, tranquil setting that is also pleasant to visit. Even if a return visit never happens, placing a memorial garden stone there will always serve as a memorial and marker for your loved one.

Pet Memorial Stones

Pet Memorial Rock Example

We all feel like our pets are part of our family, and when the time comes to separate, it isn’t easy. We can commemorate them in the same way we do other family members. Personalized memorial stones for pets is a very popular service. There are dog memorial stones, cat memorial stones, even pet memorial garden stones. You can celebrate your pet the way you want to, and leave a place to visit or create your own engraved memorial stones to take home.

Memorial Stones as Markers for Memory Trees

Often, a flowering or large evergreen tree is planted in honor of a late loved one. Some choose to scatter ashes with the tree, while others just want to plant a tree in memory of a loved one as a living tribute that will live on. A natural, engraved memorial stone looks lovely lying at the mulched base of tree. This tree could be on your own property, or planted on land dedicated to preserving the tree for all time.

Rest Ashured Ash Scattering offers such a place. When you are planting a tree in memory of someone, you want to see that evergreen tree grow year after year, where it can offer a real sense of peace and healing for family or friends left behind to visit.

Get Your Own Personalized Memorial Stones

Memorial stones are a great way to remember your loved ones for years to come. Whether you place them in a scattering garden, at your home, or even under your own evergreen tree, personalized memorial stones and personalized pet memorial stones offer a lasting way to commemorate loved ones and give you a place for them…and for you.

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Comprehensive Guide to Ash Scattering Ceremonies

Beautiful Mountain Range

Ash Scattering Ceremonies are a relatively unknown aspect of the cremation and burial process. With the growing popularity of cremation, more people are looking for alternative ways to commemorate the lives of their loved ones. At Rest Ashured, we offer ash scattering options that include gorgeous mountain views, tree dedications with memorial stones, and burial at sea in the beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina, Topsail Island, North Carolina, or Virginia Beach.

We help people honor their loved ones in a variety of ways, and wanted to share some of those ways with you. There is no right or wrong way to memorialize a loved one, so look through these ideas below—or come up with your own—because when it comes time to say goodbye, each journey is its own.

What is an Ash Scattering Ceremony?

An Ash Scattering Ceremony is a ritual held to honor someone’s life after their death and cremation. It is very similar to what’s held at a funeral, but not confined to a church or funeral home, and can be held any time after the cremation. More often than not, these ceremonies are held by the families, whereas funeral services are run by the funeral directors themselves.

For some families, they choose to have a typical memorial service and keep the ashes in an urn, versus scattering them. For them, this urn is a permanent home for their loved one. But for others, it is only a temporary home until they find just the right spot to scatter the ashes. Often, people feel they need some time before they are able to let go.

Scatter Gardens

A family may wish to plan and memorialize their loved one on their own, or they may wish to consult a funeral home to help with the ceremony. The types of memorials and ceremonies for ash scattering are only limited to one’s imagination, although most will probably fall into the ceremony types described below. Regardless of the type of ceremony, some form of scatter garden is often included.

Scatter gardens are designated places where ashes can be scattered without legal or environmental risks. (People often don’t realize that states have different laws and regulations for ash scattering.). Scatter gardens can accommodate just about any type of ash scattering ceremony. Some are manicured floral gardens with areas for trenching, raking, or ringing of the ashes. Others offer a rock garden for scattering, but in a more natural/rustic setting. Rest Ashured Ash Scattering Services offers such a place with beautiful mountain views, as well.

Types of Ash Scattering Ceremonies

Casting Ceremony

When people first think about scattering ashes, often what comes to mind is the tossing and releasing of cremation ash into the air, called a casting ceremony. Many people feel that this symbolizes the freeing or letting go of their loved one’s spirit.  It can involve music, memories, and verses. While there are many places in which to cast, cremation ash must be scattered carefully. Because of the uncontrollable nature of this type of scattering, many choose other options.

Trenching Ceremony

Trenching ceremonies are ideal for those who loved to garden or loved nature. Often the trench is dug under a tree or in a flower bed. Others may choose to dig a trench into a special shape, such as the loved one’s initials. After the trenching is finished, family and friends can take turns scattering the ashes inside the trench, as they eulogize their loved one with fond memories, recited verses, etc. After everyone is finished, the ashes are covered with the displaced dirt or mulch.

Ringing ceremony

Many families, especially those who have planted a tree in remembrance of their loved one, choose a ringing ceremony.

This is a slight variation of the trenching ceremony, where a circle is dug around a tree, flower, or some permanent structure of significance. The ashes can be scattered directly on the ground around the tree or shrub, before being covered with the displaced earth. Many see this as a symbol of the circle of life. Rest Ashured offers tree dedications, and will plant a tree for the cremation ash to rest beneath.

Raking Ceremony

At some point during this ceremony, the family pours the ashes evenly across a section of soil, then rakes the ashes into the soil, usually at the conclusion of the ceremony. Often, each family member takes turns raking the ashes into the soil, and as they do so, they share a special memory, prayer or verse.

Sky or Aerial Ceremony

For this type of ash scattering ceremony, you will probably need to work with a private company that will release the ashes during flight. Aerial scattering can be done by plane, helicopter, hot air balloon, or even by a hang glider. Often family and friends will hold a private ceremony on the ground, where they can view the scattering.

Scattering Ashes at Sea Ceremony

Woman scattering ashes on the water

Scattering ashes over the water, often called “Burial at Sea,”  is usually done by boat or at the water’s edge in a floating ceremony. Because the EPA requires that cremation ash be scattered 3 nautical miles offshore, families have fewer options with this ceremony. They can either charter a captained boat to take the family out to have an attended ash-scattering ceremony, or they can hire a boat captain to scatter the ashes for them. The latter option is less expensive, and is often chosen in conjunction with a beachside ceremony. Rest Ashured Ash Scattering Services offers attended and unattended options.

Lighting candles and casting flowers, petals or wreaths on the water along with the ashes, are lovely choices to enhance the event.

Floating Ceremony

In this ceremony, as opposed to scattering ashes over open water, the cremation ash is put into a water-soluble urn. These urns can be simple or ornate, according to your taste. After, or as a part of, the memorial, the urn is placed in the water. The urn floats for a couple minutes before it begins to sink and dissolve. To conclude the ceremony, guests will often toss live flowers, petals, or wreaths into the water as one final tribute.

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What Do I Do With My Pet’s Remains?

Man holding dog

It’s hard to try to figure out what you want to do with a beloved pet’s remains when you’re grieving their loss. Often, it feels like it’s easier to just let your veterinarian deal with things, so that you can grieve in peace. However, you have more options than that, and we want to make sure you make the best choice for you and your family.

There are two main options for your pet: burial or cremation.

Burying Your Pet

Burying your pet can be a good option in certain circumstances. If you’re living on property you own, you can bury your pet on your own land. If not, you can bury your pet in a pet cemetery.

Burial in a Pet Cemetery

This is not a viable option for most people. While pet cemeteries offer full services for your animals, they can be cost-prohibitive to many people. At minimum, you’re required to purchase a plot of land and a casket of some sort. Pet cemeteries are also not very common, and can require extensive travel.

Burial On Your Land

If your pet passed away at home, this is often the easiest route. However, this can’t be done on a rental property of any sort, as you can only do this on property that belongs to you. You also should be leery of this if your animal was put to sleep (euthanized), got into any kind of poisonous substance, or had a communicable disease. Other animals can dig up and scavenge the remains, causing them to become ill or even die.

On top of all of this, if you choose to move away from your current property, you will have to leave your beloved pet’s burial site behind.

Cremating Your Pet

The other option is to cremate your pet. Often, your vet can do this once they’ve euthanized your pet. If your pet died at home, many crematories offer services for pets. Once you cremate them, you have to decide what you do with the ashes. In this, you have three options: keeping the ashes, scattering them yourself, or having a scattering service do it for you.

Keeping the Ashes

This is a common option after you have a pet cremated. Often the ashes will be kept in an urn or box in the home. This can bring comfort to some, but others aren’t as comfortable keeping them around the house. It can also be inconvenient if you have young children or other pets who can tip over or break the box or urn.

Scattering The Ashes Yourself

If you own your own property, this can be a good option. However, there are lots of laws associated with disposal of ashes and remains. So if you’re going to attempt this option, ensure that you read up on the laws and regulations in your state.

Have a Scattering Service Handle It

Scattering services like Rest Ashured can scatter your pet’s ashes for you. We mail you a box with everything you need, and you simply follow the instructions and mail it back to us. Then we scatter your pet’s ashes on our gorgeous property in our special scatter garden. We can even place an engraved stone to serve as a permanent memorial to your pet.

There are so many more options for your pet’s remains than most people realize! Make sure that you’re choosing the best option for you and your family.

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Do People Really Scatter Ashes at Disney World?

Disney World Cinderella Castle

With the continued growth of cremation and ash scattering services, people are looking for memorial ideas and more unique locations to pay their final respects.  People are having their ashes scattered at sea, they are planting trees and holding private dedications, they scatter ashes in public beaches and baseball fields, etc.  While Ash Scattering continues to grow in popularity, most people remain unsure of the laws and regulations governing the scattering of ashes.

When I first heard about ashes being scattered at Disney World theme parks, I was a little bit in shock! Talk about original!  According to a Oct. 2019 Wall Street Journal article, it is actually fairly common. As I started trying to wrap my head around this strange and foreign thought, I remembered some old family friends whose only thoughts were of their next jaunt to Disney. In fact, their whole house looked like a Disney trinket shop! With Disney holding such a special place in the hearts of families everywhere, it’s no surprise that many have considered having their ashes spread there at the park.

Scattering Ashes at Disney World

It has become so common for people to scatter ashes at Disney World that custodians at the park have a special code for cleaning it. It’s called “HEPA cleanup.” When custodians hear that code come across, it means yet another park guest has scattered the cremated ashes of a loved one somewhere in the park.

Disney World with Cinderella Castle

Thoughts of scattered ashes falling from Disney rides and landing on unsuspecting people below is almost too much to think about! Or do people pour them into one of the many waterways within the park? According to the Wall Street Journal article, there is no lack of imagination.

Human ashes have been spread in flower beds, on bushes, and on Magic Kingdom lawns; outside the park gates and during fireworks displays; on Pirates of the Caribbean and in the moat underneath the flying elephants of the Dumbo ride. Most frequently of all, according to custodians and park workers, they’ve been dispersed throughout the Haunted Mansion, the 49-year-old attraction featuring an eerie old estate full of imaginary ghosts…“The Haunted Mansion probably has so many human ashes in it that it’s not even funny,” said one Disneyland custodian. (One can only wonder if people think being laid to rest in the Haunted Mansion will turn them into a ghost so that they can live at Disneyland forever.) 

However, the truth of the matter is more somber. Some people agree to spread their loved ones’ ashes at Disney parks, so that they can feel like they’re enjoying the place with them one more time.

Disney strives to make everyone happy, but allowing ash scattering in the parks is definitely a leap too far. Ash scattering is explicitly forbidden, and if you are caught, you will be escorted from the park. Because of this, people have resorted to hiding them in pill bottles, make-up compacts, and even plastic bags in the bottom of purses. Sometimes, families will even split up the remains to sprinkle around the park in multiple places!

Why Shouldn’t You Scatter Ashes at Disney?

Again, Disney is known to be called the Happiest Place on earth, but don’t expect the clean up crew to feel that way when they get that “HEPA cleanup code”! You may recognize the HEPA acronym as a special kind of filter needed to suck up very fine particles, like human ashes. That’s right…instead of eternity in Disney, it’s into the ol’ vacuum. That’s probably not what your loved one had in mind!

Rest Ashured Scatter Garden

Personally, I’m a big fan of the outdoors, and would much rather have my ashes scattered in a place where I can be one with nature forever, undisturbed. Even then, however, you have to account for laws and regulations.  If you perform a professional ceremony using services like the ones we offer at Rest Ashured, you can conduct a respectful ceremony for your loved one and scatter their ashes legally and safely. That would also avoid legal issues and possibly being banned from a place you and your family love so much! 

So if you’re thinking about scattering a loved one’s ashes at Disneyland or Disney World, just realize that the parks know about this sort of thing. They’re prepared for it. They even have a code for it.

 “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere.

Belle
Beauty and the Beast
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Funeral Traditions Around the World

Woman holding globe

How different religions practice burials around the world?

No matter how uncomfortable the concept of dying may seem, the reality is that it is an essential and unavoidable element of everybody’s being. Death, as everybody knows, is inevitable and for that reason, it is necessary to plan for it so, that our belongings can be transferred to our loved ones.

Different customs and beliefs around the world have different methods of commemorating this inevitable, sensitive event, and so it is ideal to be informed about how some of the most prominent religions practice rites for the dead around the world.

Christian customs  

Christianity, the most populous religion in the world, generally holds a burial for the dead. For the burial, the body is draped in a suit and laid in a coffin with a cross. There often is also a viewing of the body, where friends and family can pay their last respects to the person.

Bereavement in Judaism

Similar to Christianity, Judaism also typically buries its dead. Jewish law believes that the body does not belong to anybody but to God, and that is why injuring a body is strictly prohibited under the belief. The body is purified by water so as to clean out any bleeding, dirt or dust, and then shrouded by a prayer cloth. People then set the corpse in a coffin and sing Psalms throughout the burial process.

Buddhist burial traditions

While Buddhism believes in burying their dead too, its concept of death is unique from other faiths. They consider decay to the body as natural with the decay of the world. They bury the body after a week and during the process, people chant mantras. These mantras address the circle of life and how the end is inevitable. The body is then lowered into a decorated coffin and then buried.

Islamic funeral rites

Islam also buries its dead. Islam believes that a lifeless body should be buried within a day or two, or it will be dishonored. Most of this has to do with how the religion also believes in life after death. Before burial, the body is purified and covered in white. In some Islamic traditions, people also apply scented and expensive oils, known as attar, on the body.

Hinduism’s last sacrifice

Hinduism is one of the few faiths that incinerate the remains of the dead, rather than cremating them. Hindu tradition believes that a soul can only rest in peace if the ashes are laid down into the Holy Ganges River.

When you know the burial rituals, you can be better prepared for the arrangements. You can choose how you want to be buried, in what type and style of a coffin, or if you prefer cremation and the many choices that exist for storing or scattering cremains.