Scattering & Shipping Ashes

Many scatter their loved one’s ashes (also called cremains) as a way to make a final connection to a place that is emotionally important to them. Others choose to fulfill a dream they were not able to achieve in their lifetime.

  • Shipping requirements for human cremains
  • Methods for ash scattering
  • Locations for scatterings
  • Things to consider when scattering
  • Scattering at sea
  • Naval scatterings

Shipping Human Cremains

Transporting human cremated remains can be complicated and requires a variety of documents and authorizations. The best and simplest approach is to have Best Cremation Care, a licensed funeral establishment, make the arrangements to ensure all requirements are met.

  • The U.S. Postal Service ships cremated remains but only within the United States, and they must be sent via registered mail or Express mail.
  • UPS, FedEx and DHL currently do not handle the transport of cremated remains.
  • Most airlines transport cremated remains as air cargo, carry-on or checked luggage but you should check with the individual airline for specific guidelines. Some airlines may require advance notice.
  • If taking cremated remains internationally, contact the Embassy of that country for any special requirements.
  • A burial transit permit must accompany cremated remains.

Methods for ash scattering

  • Sea or water burials – ashes are tossed into the water
  • Casting – tossing ashes into the wind (be sure to cast downwind)
  • Trenching – dig a shallow trench in the ground and bury the ashes
  • Raking – gently mix the ashes into loose soil
  • Scattering Urn – specially designed urns that will gradually disperse ashes

Locations for scatterings are only limited by your imagination, budget and local regulations.

  • In places of significance or hold special memories (favorite vacation spots, family property)
  • Space launches on satellite shuttles
  • Aerial scatterings on flights for families who want to scatter ashes over landmarks or parks
  • Sea excursions by boat or plane to spread ashes over water
  • Fireworks embedded with ashes

Things to consider:

  • Always check with state and local authorities prior to scattering ashes. Many jurisdictions have limitations on what can and cannot be done.
  • Avoid the obvious inappropriate situations:
    • Less than half a mile upstream of any drinking water supply
    • In water used for commercial, agricultural or recreational purposes
    • From a bridge over a river
    • Near buildings
  • Use a professional for aerial scatterings. Frequently aerial scatterings do not end up as perfectly as they sound unless planned well. They require licensing and significant location logistics. Most pilots are not licensed to do them properly.

There are numerous options available to you when deciding where the remains entrusted to you from the crematorium are scattered whether in a favorite location or at sea. For veterans, there is also the option for Naval scatterings at sea.

Frequently families conduct an ash (also called cremains) scattering ceremony themselves. Best Cremation Care provides assistance making arrangements when families need help with logistics or timing. Let us know your loved one’s special request and we can help your family fulfill that final desire.

Ash scatterings arranged by Best Cremation Care include:

  • Scattering of ashes
  • Certificate of completion
  • Recording of exact location
  • Transporting of ashes

Scattering at Sea

Whether it is a love for the ocean or the allure of traveling around the world with the waves, many people scatter remains at sea.

Types of sea scatterings:

  • Attended ceremonies:
  • Unattended scatterings:
    • Loved ones are present on the boat or view the scattering on land from a dock or look-out point
    • A ship’s captain scatters the ashes (also called cremains) and provides documentation for your remembrance
    • Ashes are scattered by aircraft

The United States Navy provides final disposition of remains on Navy vessels during deployments at sea. Additional information on eligibility and the request process can be found on Navy Personnel Command site under the Burial at Sea Program.