This is the second edition of state-by-state regulations related to scattering ashes of a loved one. We will be releasing additional state guides soon so be sure to check back often to learn more.
At The Living Urn, we receive frequent questions related to the rules for scattering ashes of a loved one or beloved pet at home, on private property, in various parks, waterways, etc. In this edition, we focus on the beautiful state of Florida - providing you with a simple guide and important information related to scattering ashes within the state to give you the ability to memorialize a loved one in Florida in a safe, legal, and respectful way.
Rules for Scattering Ashes in Florida
In the state of Florida, there are no state laws that restrict where you can keep or scatter cremated ashes. The ashes can be kept in a crypt, grave, or urn or other container at home. If you decide to scatter ashes of a loved one or pet, there are many options available in Florida. The cremation process makes it so a person or pet’s ashes are harmless, and there are no health risks related to scattering ashes.
Even though the state of Florida doesn’t have limits on scattering ashes, certain cities and counties within the state may have their own rules or regulations. Also, state parks and national parks have their own rules and there are federal guidelines to follow related to scattering ashes at sea. It is recommended to contact your local city or county or do an internet search of the scattering location you decide upon to double check if there are any special requirements. It is recommended to use common sense when choosing a location to scatter to be respectful of others.
Also, it’s important to note that per Florida Statues 497.607, if a body is cremated and the ashes are not claimed within 120 days after the cremation is performed, the organization in charge of the ashes can dispose of the them in any way permitted by law, which includes the ways described below.
Places to Scatter Ashes in Florida
After the loss of a loved one or pet, scattering their ashes at a special place or a scenic outdoor spot can bring comfort during this time of grief. Holding a memorial service outdoors by yourself or with family and friends to scatter the cremated ashes of a loved one or pet can be a beautiful and memorable experience.
Below we’ve highlighted some of the most common places families scatter ashes in Florida:
- Private Land- in Florida, along with most other states, you are allowed to scatter ashes on your own private property or the private property of another party with permission.
- Scattering Gardens- many cemeteries, memorial parks, and churches designate special places to scatter a loved one’s ashes. If this is something you’re interested in, ask around or do a quick online search of scattering gardens nearby where you live. These gardens are protected and typically beautifully maintained.
- Public Land- Florida has many beautiful scenic areas – including but not limited to the 1,350 miles of coastline, the millions of acres of wetlands, and many beautiful parks. You should check local city and county regulations (and get permission when needed) before scattering on public land in Florida or any other state.
- Federal Land - We recommend families request permission before scattering ashes on federal land. Similar to local or state land, it is advised to scatter ashes well away from trails and roads. Rules for scattering ashes in National Parks are available online and many national parks do allow scattering in designated areas and with a permit.
- At Sea - Scattering ashes at sea is a popular option in Florida. With its vast coastline, many families love Florida’s beautiful beaches and ocean and all it has to offer. The EPA requires that it be notified of a scattering at sea within 30 days of it occurring - this can be done by simply filling out a form found on the EPA website. In addition, federal law requires that ashes are to be scattered at least 3 nautical miles from the shore (which can simply be a quick boat ride). In almost every port in Florida, there are boat services that cater to families looking to scatter. Do a quick online search or visit a port and ask around to find a service that you can work with. Federal law also requires that the urn or container used to scatter must biodegrade, or you must dispose of it separately.
- By Air - Similar to many other states, there are no state laws in Florida related to scattering ashes from an airplane. Federal law prohibits dropping any objects from the air that can potentially cause harm to people or property, however, they do not consider ashes to be an issue and these are permitted to be dropped from a plane. Just make sure the urn or other container used to hold the ashes is held on to and not dropped during the scattering.
What to Use to Scatter Ashes?
With the growth in cremation and rising popularity in scattering ashes, many urns have recently been developed specifically for this purpose. This includes the following:
Eco Water Urn
Since the majority of Florida is surrounded by water, water burials are a popular option. The Living Urn’s new Eco Water Urn has quickly become a leading choice of funeral homes and provides a unique and memorable experience for families. This patent pending biodegradable water urn floats like a buoy, then gently disperses that ashes out of the bottom of the urn and into the water in just a few minutes time. It also comes packaged in a bamboo case, a great eco-friendly way to transport the urn holding a loved one’s ashes to that special place.
Eco Scattering Urns
The Living Urn developed a patented line of eco-friendly scattering urns designed to scatter ashes called Eco Scattering. These are made from bamboo, a sustainable resource, and are simple and easy to use. In addition, they come with a special open and close mechanism on top, giving families the ability to scatter with control and ease. This unique open and close mechanism also gives families the option to scatter a portion at one location then re-secure the remaining cremated ashes in the urn to scatter at a different location or keep.
Paper or Cardboard Scattering Urns
There are a number of scattering urns on the market that are manufactured from paper or cardboard. These urns (or tubes) can be used to scatter, however come with some drawbacks. One, in particular, is that because they are made out of paper they can break down in rain or snow (which can be an issue if it is raining or snowing during a scattering ceremony). In addition, and unlike the bamboo Eco Scattering Urns, after scattering some of the ashes, there is not a reliable way to resecure the remaining ashes in the urn to take to another location to scatter or bring home. In addition, many of the paper urns need to be glued together by the family or funeral home. This can be a challenge to some and, if not done properly, can cause the urn to break apart.
Many families who choose to scatter only scatter a portion of a loved one or pet’s ashes and keep the remainder, or do a second memorial or multiple other memorials with the remaining ashes. This can include a tree memorial with The Living Urn biodegradable urn and planting system, burying the ashes in a burial urn, have the ashes infused into a glass decorative piece, included in jewelry, or simply keep them in an urn or other container in the home.