Scattering Ashes at sea

Sunset at Brighton
Sunset at Brighton

Nearly 1 in 10 people choose to scatter the cremated ashes of a loved one on water. Scattering ashes at sea is great way to give a loved one an appropriate and meaningful send-off and those who scatter find the presence of water afterwards very comforting.

You do not need a licence to spread ashes in tidal coastal waters off of the UK. Scattering ashes on rivers and lakes generally need the permission of the landowner and it is not allowed at all in some parks and districts.

Scattering ashes at sea generally involves a short trip out of Brighton Marina, to an open piece of sea.  The boat comes to rest to allow the scattering to take place. People have the opportunity say a few words before the ashes are scattered. A few moments of reflection are taken before returning.

Some advice on scattering ashes:

  1. There is quite a lot of ash that can cover a large area. The act of casting the ashes (throwing up into the air) is generally not advised. A low level dispersal of the ashes is generally more appropriate and should be done downwind of the boat.
  2. Consider investing in a scattering tube or urn. They are far more dignified than the plastic container you receive from the crematorium. Suitable biodegradeable urns can be obtained from Urns for Ashes
  3. Do not place the box or urn into the sea. The box may float.
  4. Wreaths should not be placed in the sea, unless it is known that they will shortly sink and bio-degrade. Dried flower petals are more appropriate.
  5. Keep a record when you do something as symbolic as scattering a loved one’s ashes. Keep the record with your family certificates.  The exact details may become blurred at time of emotional stress. The details suggested are:
  • Where – This could be simply Brighton. However, we will be able to give the position accurately. This will be important if another family member wishes to be with them again.
  • Time – e.g. sunset;  midday; or a specific time. If you are planning a ceremony then sunrise and sunset are symbolic
  • When – the date and any particular reason why this date was chosen? A birthday or anniversary?
  • Who was there
  • Detail – Make a note of words spoken or poems read.