at sea burial

Best Way to Spread Ashes in the Ocean

When it comes to cremation or burial, a lot of people wish to make the funeral ceremony as memorable as possible. That is exactly the reason why spreading ashes in the ocean or burial at sea is fast becoming a trend. Scattering ashes over a large body of water is actually an excellent way to not just make the event a memorable one, but it is also a beautiful way to dignify the last voyage of the deceased loved ones. However, spreading ashes at sea can be difficult because it involves a lot of planning in advance as well as compliance with the maritime laws.

If you plan to spread the remains of your departed loved ones in the ocean, you should equip yourself with some essential pieces of information to get the funeral ceremony conducted in a hassle-free manner.

Types of Sea Scattering

There are two ways in which you can have an ash scattering ceremony conducted at sea. You can either attend it or go for an unattended sea scattering with the expert help of a sea burial service. 

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Many times, the families of the deceased person prefer to be present during the sea scattering ceremony. For such an attended sea funeral, you will need to hire a boat rental service. The size of the boat should be able to accommodate the number of persons who want to attend the funeral. Not only that, a proper location at sea needs to be selected for the event. There are many other things that need to be planned in a proper manner for the same.


The sea funeral that is performed without the presence of the family at the chosen location is called unattended. There can be multiple reasons behind going for an unattended sea scattering ceremony. For this type of scattering, you will need to provide the ashes of the deceased to the boating or sea burial service. Once the service provider has the ashes, they will plan the entire thing exactly as you want including the recitation of a poem, quotes or some specific words as per your special requests. It is possible for the family members and near and dear ones to gather at the sea shore to view the ceremony as it is conducted. 

Whether you look for an attended or an unattended ash spreading, you can have it planned in a proper manner with the help of charter boat or sea burial service. If you are in California, you should head straight to the Burial at Sea, which provides sea scattering off the Southern California coast. The company offers both spreading of ashes at sea as well as full-body sea burial.

Best Type of Urns to Use in Ash Spreading

There are different types of urns available to spread the ashes of the deceased person in the ocean. Since ash scattering is getting more popular, manufacturers have come up with some of the most useful and beautiful urn options for families to use. Here are some of the most popular ones.

Eco Water Urn:

This is an eco-friendly urn. It is made from recycled plant materials without the use of any kind of toxic chemicals. After placing the ashes into the urn, you can release the urn into the sea and let it float. In a few minutes, the bottom of the urn will break open and the ashes will be spread out in the ocean. Using this biodegradable urn makes ash scattering beautiful.

scattering ashes on the beach

Ice Urn:

Designed from ice, the ice urn dissolves in the ocean after a few minutes. If you plan for an ash scattering, you can use this type of urn to release the remains of your deceased loved one at sea. 

Bamboo Urn:

Many people use a bamboo urn to spread the ashes of the deceased in the ocean. These urns have a cylindrical shape, which makes the scattering easier and quicker. The specific design of the baboon urns eliminates the risk of the ashes blowing back on the person releasing it.

You can also find urns made of paper and other materials in the market. However, the best idea is to use biodegradable urns. Burial at Sea in San Pedro, CA, provides the best types of eco-friendly urns as well as carries the expertise and experience to carry out sea funerals in a well-organized way. Feel free to reach out to one of our specialists to discuss your ash spreading needs.

Steps to Properly Spread Ashes in the Ocean

Departure of a loved one puts the entire family under a great deal of stress. If you want to comfort the soul of the deceased and give them a memorable last voyage, spreading their ashes at sea is a great idea. To make it hassle-free, you need to properly plan the entire funeral ceremony and follow some necessary steps. Given below are the key steps that you should abide by.

Know the Maritime Laws

Releasing ashes in the ocean is quite different from scattering ashes on land. Before you go out into the sea, you should make yourself fully aware of the various local and federal maritime laws.

The selection of the location for sea funeral must be done in accordance with the maritime ordinances. You will need to acquire an EPA permit from the concerned authorities. You will not be allowed to conduct a sea scattering or sea burial in locations that are culturally sensitive. To become familiar with the protocol, it is a good idea to get in touch with a local agency or a sea funeral service provider in or near your city such as the Burial at Sea in California. Maritimes laws vary from one U.S state to another and you should know the rules well.

Purchase an Urn

Use of plastic leads to waste and causes harm to marine life. That is why, you should always purchase biodegradable urns such as those made from bamboo, paper or other eco-friendly materials.

By having Burial at Sea by your side, you will not have to worry about what type of urns will be best for the sea funeral. The company offers eco-friendly urns to spread ashes of the deceased in the ocean. To find out more about these urns, feel free to give our office a phone call and talk to an expert.

Plan the Sea Funeral

Based on whether the sea funeral is going to be an informal or formal one, you will need to plan everything in a well-organized manner. If it is an unattended ash scattering, you need to decide how many family members will be present at the ceremony and whether you will have a clergy at the site.

From acquiring all the permits and hiring a boat for scattering the ashes to attire and videography, there are many things that need advance planning. Everything should be available at the scheduled time on the day of the funeral. Missing out on any crucial detail will disrupt the entire ceremony. So, the best advice is to get in touch with a service such as the Burial at Sea to have the entire sea scattering ceremony planned in a professional manner. We have created a Final Planning Checklist to help you plan every detail easily and swiftly. 

Recite a Favorite Quote or Say a Prayer

If you are going to have an informal ash scattering, you can still plan to say a prayer, poem or a quote. When it comes to a sea burial or sea funeral, many people do not know what they should exactly say.

The good news is that there are countless beautiful poems, words and biblical quotes that you can recite at the scattering. But you should write down and memorize what you are going to say. Choose something that relates to the life of the deceased loved one or something they believed in. You can also have a beautiful funeral song played before, during or after the sea funeral. Start the ash spreading after you and other family members have had the opportunity to say or recite the poem or words they want to. This will make the ceremony a memorable one.

Spread the Ashes Downwind

Wind direction plays a key role in dispersing of ashes in the ocean. When you throw the ashes in the ocean, you need to make sure that it does not blow back. However, it also depends on the type of urn you use. If you put the ashes in a biodegradable urn and release the urn into the water for scattering, there won’t be a problem. The urn will break open after it is being let afloat in the ocean. If you use a scattering tube, you will need to take the wind direction into account.

When it comes to cremations at sea, you should also watch out for rains and storms to avoid trouble. Burial at Sea in California will address all these issues and choose a time and site that is safe and ideal. Our experts will go the extra mile to make the experience a good one for the grieving family.

Plan a Visit Later

Dispersing ashes at sea does not mean you can not pay a visit and commemorate the departure of your loved one at the site of ash scattering later. In fact, sea burial services mark and record the exact location of the ash scattering or cremations at sea so you can return later for a visit.

Talk to a Sea Funeral Specialist

At a time when you are grieving the loss of a loved one, you will certainly want to avoid all the pain and hassle that goes into the planning of a sea funeral or ash spreading ceremony. Based in San Pedro, CA, Burial at Sea specializes in planning, arranging and conducting all kinds of cremations at sea including ash scattering, casket burial and full body sea burials and boat rental to scatter ashes. With our specialists by your side, you will ensure all the crucial details of the funeral are planned in a professional manner and there are no last-minute hassles of any kind. We provide ocean burial off the coast of Long Beach, Redondo Beach, San Pedro, Los Angeles and Catalina Island while abiding by all ocean funeral EPA regulations.

For your free consultation with a sea funeral specialist, give our office a phone or write us an email using the contact form.

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