How To Scatter Ashes At The Beach: Your Ultimate Guide

man in the seashore

The act of scattering the ashes of a loved one brings closure and peace to many people. It symbolizes the release of spirit to heaven or the return of a person to nature. Many families choose to scatter the ashes of their loved one in several ways based on the final wish of the deceased, or their religious and cultural preferences. 

Why Is Ash Scattering Essential?

In many parts of the world, ashes scattering helps to preserve land mostly in urban areas. People also view the act of spreading ashes as a way of freeing the spirit and soul of the loved one. Once you scatter the ashes to the sea, it symbolizes the act of letting them go and fulfilling their wishes. 

Some other general symbols of scattering ashes include;

  • Freeing the soul of the loved one
  • Freedom or liberation
  • Letting go of the grief
  • A connection to a specific place

Facts About Ash Scattering

how to scatter ashes at the beach

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Unlike sea burials, the regulations of scattering ashes at sea are very generous. There is no permit or license required to scatter. However, if dispersing five miles within the coast, the environmental agency has some guidelines you will need to follow such as; 

  • Ensure the ashes have no real impact on the quality of  water
  • No scattering of non-biodegradable components such as wreaths or personal items made of plastics
  • Choose a spot away from marinas or any building and to keep away areas where fishing is practices or people bathe
  • Choose a place 1km away from upstream where water is collected. You can get help on this through the local environmental agency
  • Avoid windy times and scatter close to the water surface to prevent ashes from blowing away and affecting people living or working nearby. You can consult the local faith leaders or the funeral directors to advise you on the approved site.

Before we get to know how to scatter ashes at the beach here are facts you need to know about ash scattering;

There Are Scatter Urns Available

Handling Ashes Has No Health Risk

Rule Of Scattering Differ With Regions

Even With No Permit, You Can Scatter In The Ocean

Both Ash Scattering Ceremony And Memorial Ceremony May Be Combined

Consider Wind Direction Before Scattering

Ways Of scattering Ashes

Some of the several methods on how to scatter ashes at the beach include:


Casting is the process of tossing the ashes of the deceased into the air, on the ground or over the water. It's one of the longstanding and favorite methods used to memorize a loved one. Casting has a special meaning that symbolizes freeing the spirit to go to the next life, "letting go." 

Casting ceremony begins with a brief poetry reading, eulogy, or speech. Many people prefer to give a statement on personal memories or recite a passage when casting the ash t into the air, water, or to the ground. When this is happening, people take photos to serve as a remembrance. You can use pictures and candles to engrave the service.  

To add an extra touch of the natural environment, you can place Individual flowers or wreaths along with the ashes. Some people mix the ashes of their loved one with birdseed or wildflowers before they cast them. 

Casting may be made from a boat or in the air through a private helicopter or a leased plane. To ensure the memorial is beautiful as intended, find out more on community regulations before scattering ashes on public places openly. 


Trenching is digging a trench or a pit in the sand and placing the remains of a loved one inside. Rather than scattering ashes gently, some families prefer trenching the remains of their loved ones. 1Q2The remains may be put in a biodegradable urn or may be placed into the channel directly.

woman execution on how to scatter ashes at the beach

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"One life on this earth is all that we get, whether it is enough or not enough, and the obvious conclusion would seem to be that at the very least we are fools if we do not live it as fully and bravely and beautifully as we can." Frederick Buechner    

Depending on your personal preferences or the regulations of disposing of ashes in your region, either the family or the directors of the funeral services may perform the act. 

At the end of the trenching service, families may choose to add their personal touches. Many decide to form a shallow trench-shaped with initials of the deceased, a short message or the heart before they scatter ashes inside and cover it with soil. Another option is to write the name of the deceased in the sand, perhaps inside a heart. It is advisable to take a photo at this point for keepsake. 

When done at the beach, you can choose to time the tide so that it can ceremoniously wash the writing to the ocean. If not windy, friends and family may join hands recall memories or recite a poem they will never forget. Some opt to encircle the site with candles. Afterward, every person present is given a candle as a souvenir. 


Raking is the acting of pouring the cremated remains on a loose soil uniformly. The raked ashes enrich the land by providing nutrients to the plants. 

Raking ceremonies takes place in places set aside by public graveyards bodies, religious institutions or communities for the exact purpose of raking, trenching or scattering ashes. Beaches are the favorite locations since they let the remains to be swept away to the ocean.  

A child, spouse, or a loved one can perform raking. The process allows for closure. Some members of the family may decide to sprinkle seeds together with the cremated remains to offer a living commemoration depending on the place where the ceremony is taking place.

Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale.  -Hans C Anderson

To uphold some level of traditional during the ceremony, some families choose to include some poetry readings, music or tributes. Notes from the guests and pictures are essential as they serve as a memento for the family of the deceased. Majority of the reminiscence gardens offers the families an opportunity to choose stones of other memorials such as bird feeders or benches. After the service, they can choose to either preserve or donate the rake to any gardening program in the community. 

Scattering Over Water

This method involves disposing of ashes with a biodegradable or water safe urn directly to a large water surface. It’s over the water near the edge or by boat or air. Before performing such as public ash dispersal, make sure you have contacted local authorities to ensure you are compliant with laws. You can choose to cast flowers, wreaths or petals along with ashes as you take the photos of the ceremony. 


Hopefully, we were able to give you some ideas on how to scatter ashes at the beach.

Land burials are often depressing and morbid. The family of the deceased gets a cloud of darkness and sadness hanging over them for many days. 

With ash scattering at the ocean, this is never the case; the family only experience grief only before the ash is scattered. Once the ashes have dispersed in the sea, it's like an emotional release to the left family. The calmness of the sea washes their sadness away while the waves wrap them with a blanket of peace. As you let them go, you create a special memory place as you celebrate their freedom. 


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