• Debbie Donnelly Funeral Celebrant

Scattering Ashes at Sea

Scattering Ashes at Sea

Covid restrictions have meant that many families have not had the funeral or ceremony that they would have wanted and are now considering an event centred around the ashes when restrictions lift.

This blog talks about scattering ashes at sea.

April 2021- Current restrictions allow for 30 people at a funeral and 15 at a wake or commemorative event, however it is not clear how an ashes scattering event should be viewed and if you want to hold the ceremony from a boat you will be guided by the regulations/ risk assessment they currently have in place.

There are surprisingly few regulations and laws about scattering ashes on water in the UK but you should follow the advice of the Environment Agency

  • The site you choose should not be near any buildings, people bathing or fishing or marinas.

  • Your site should be more than 1km upstream of any abstraction of water. You can check this by phoning your local Environment Agency office.

  • Ashes should be spread as close to the surface of the water as possible and you should avoid windy days so that ashes do not affect people living or working nearby

You do not need to seek or obtain permission or make a record of where the ashes were scattered. The website ‘Scattering Ashes’ has a useful link to a leaflet from the Environment Agency

Scattering Ashes is an Associate Member of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) and has some really useful advice and links to resources.

You could also consider scattering the ashes over the side of a riverbank or from a bridge, jetty or beach. Although less private and possibly harder to do gracefully, it does mean you can choose any safe location, make it more informal and make it less expensive.

There are obviously the practical matters to consider but you should also think carefully about whether this type of ceremony is right for you and your family- you may want to keep it a small family affair or hire a boat and combine it with some kind of Celebration of Life service or memorial. Weather, mourners mobility and time of year are all things to consider.

If you are thinking of having a ceremony at sea in the local area [Hants/ Dorset] Blue Funnel offer private hire and have a lot of experience.

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