PRINCE CHARTERS • Ash Scattering & Burial at Sea Memorial Services

Exploring the Legal and Regulatory Environment of Scattering Ashes in the Sea in California

Let’s explore a deeply touching and often overlooked aspect of saying goodbye to our loved ones: understanding the legal and regulatory considerations in California for scattering ashes at sea. Most people know this to be a very touching thing. It allows the family to set the soul of the deceased at rest ceremonially. Let’s walk through the key points to ensure this tribute happens effectively and respectfully.

Is scattering ashes at sea legal?

You might, to begin with, wonder if it is even legal to scatter ashes on the open ocean. And to answer that, yes, it is legal to scatter ashes at sea in California. However, there is still a binding process of both federal and state laws that needs to be followed through and through if the whole process is to be considered correctly done.

Under federal law, human cremated remains are required to be scattered in the waters of the ocean at least three nautical miles from land. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is the regulating agency, an informational form having to be submitted within 30 days post-ceremony. This is to be done not only in compliance with all state laws but also in respect of the dignity of the person whose funeral is being memorialized.

Are There Any Rules on Scattering Ashes?

Absolutely; there are several rules and regulations. In California, apart from those required by the federal government, state laws dictate how ashes must be transported and scattered in a way that does no harm to the environment. That means biodegradable urns and other containers that are safe around marine life and water quality.

However, there is no California state law requiring a permit for scattering ashes at sea; check local city or county regulations, as they may vary in requirements and prohibitions.

Rules for Scattering Ashes at Sea The main rules regarding scattering ashes at sea demand that the exercise is done at a minimum distance from the shore of three nautical miles. The EPA also prohibits the scattering of material that may not easily be decomposed by the water. That kind of material includes plastic flowers, wreaths, and any other non-decomposable material that may be considered an offering.

It also adds an element of discretion and respect such that the scattering ceremony should be carried out quietly and in a dignified way not to interfere with other sea-goers or marine activities.

How do rules for scattering ashes at sea work?

The procedure to follow such regulations begins with planning. After identifying a place that will be used and has complied with the distance rule, materials should be ready following the environmental preparation requirement. In case you are to perform a ceremony through a charter service specializing in sea burials, the company will take care of the compliance issues, including the submission to the EPA notification form.

Note that every scattering event must be submitted to the EPA within 30 days, and must specify the details of the ceremony: the location (latitude and longitude), the date, and the type of materials.

Should I Consider Any Laws Before Scattering Ashes at Sea?

Definitely, before even seriously considering the planning of a sea-scattering ceremony, it is very important to try to understand and consider all the regulations that apply in this regard. That would include not only environmental protection laws but also the local maritime traffic laws to avoid any interference with commercial or recreational activities on the water where you are going to scatter the ashes.

It would be wise to also consult a professional service that can give you details and ensure that every dimension of the ceremony complies with the legal stipulations. This way, your focus will be more on meaning and the personal elements of your ceremony, not compliance and the regulatory matters. All in all, scattering ashes at sea in California is such an emotional way to pay tribute to the dead, but it comes with a sense of responsibilities. With that, you can only be sure that your tribute will be memorable and at the same time held with the highest respect and care by understanding and adhering to the legal and regulatory frameworks set. Please be careful as you navigate these sensitive waters.

Share the Post:

Related Blog Posts