Is It Legal to Scatter Ashes at Sea in Florida?
Published August 13th, 2019
Scattering a deceased loved one’s ashes at sea is becoming a popular alternative to traditional funerals. It’s cheaper, more convenient and good for the environment.
Due to its scenic coasts, many people chose to have their or their loved one’s ashes scattered in Florida. Still, some can’t help but doubt the legality of the process.
So, are you allowed to scatter ashes at sea in Florida?
Yes, you are. But like most things, there are rules to follow.
Rules for Scattering of Ashes at Sea in Florida
Florida gives its citizens freedom as to where to store their loved one’s cremated remains. They can put it in an urn in their home or bury it in a crypt.
Various options are also available for those who want to scatter the ashes. You may scatter it in both private and public land, at scattering gardens, by air or at sea.
Cremated remains are generally harmless. But you should still exercise common sense when scattering ashes in public places. You need to make sure you’re not causing inconvenience to other people.
Currently, there are no state laws that specifically govern the scattering of ashes in Florida. But, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established certain regulations for sea burials.
EPA Regulations on Sea Burials
Under the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act, the EPA issues a general permit authorizing the burial of human remains at sea. There are three basic regulations established under this:
- The ashes should be scattered at least three nautical miles from land.
- If you wish to put the ashes in a container, make sure it’s biodegradable. Non-biodegradable materials should be disposed of separately and not thrown into the ocean.
- The EPA must be informed within 30 days after the conduct of such burial.
Aside from the basic regulations, the EPA also has a list of things you can’t do when scattering ashes at sea. Some of them are:
- Medical wastes should not be mixed with cremated remains before the burial.
- Cremated remains can’t be incorporated into an artificial reef structure and placed at the bottom of the sea. If you really want to do this, you need to coordinate with relevant government agencies first.
- Incorporating ashes into a monument or similar structure and sunk at sea is not allowed too. These structures are not expected to disintegrate soon and might harm the ocean.
Regulations on Burial Containers
Certain weather conditions can sometimes prevent the scattering of ashes in the ocean’s surface. That’s why the EPA also allows putting them in a container and sinking it in the ocean.
To protect the environment, the EPA requires burial containers to be biodegradable. They must not contain plastic or any material that may contribute to marine debris. You also need to make sure they are heavy enough not to float back to the surface.
Where Can You Find a Boat to Conduct a Burial at Sea?
You may use your own boat or avail of our services. We provide the most respectful and lowest cost scattering service in Florida. We want to make this painful experience as easy for you as possible. That’s why all our services also include filing of required regulatory documents. Visit our homepage to know more about what we do or book our services.