2020 State Guide to Scattering Ashes - Maryland Edition

This is the twenty-fifth edition of state-by-state rules and regulations related to scattering ashes and focuses on the state of Maryland. This beautiful state is home to a stunning coastline, pristine mountains, historic battlefields, and much more.

Funeral directors and cremation service providers throughout Maryland receive frequent questions from families about cremation and scattering a loved one or pet’s ashes. This includes whether it’s permitted in Maryland, where they can scatter, and what urn or other container is recommended to scatter with. In this guide we highlight important information that helps answer these questions and many more.

Rules for Scattering Ashes in Maryland

scattering ashes Maryland

There are no state laws in Maryland that restrict where you can store or scatter a loved one’s ashes. Ashes can be kept in an urn or other container, niche, crypt, or grave. The cremation process makes ashes harmless and they pose no risk to our health.

If you decide to scatter a loved one’s ashes, there are virtually endless options available in Maryland. Even though there are no state restrictions on scattering ashes, it’s always a good idea to check with the city or county where you plan on scattering to find out if any local regulations exist. In addition, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene encourages people to scatter responsibly. This includes using common sense when selecting a location to scatter so you’re being respectful of others.

Where to Scatter Ashes in Maryland?

Many people choose to have their ashes scattered at a place with special meaning to them or their family, or another beautiful outdoor location. Some people also decide to have a memorial service before, during, or after the scattering – this can be as formal or as informal as you want. A service with the scattering makes for a memorable event with family and friends present and gives everybody present the opportunity to join together and reflect on the loved one who passed.

Below we’ve highlighted some of the most popular places where people scatter ashes in Maryland.

  • Scattering Gardens – With the increase in the amount of people choosing cremation, many cemeteries and churches in Maryland are setting up scattering gardens. These are designated areas on their property where people can scatter their loved one’s ashes. If this is something of interest, with a quick internet search you can typically find one or more options in your area.
  • At Sea – With Maryland’s stunning coastline, scattering ashes at sea is a popular option chosen by many residents of the state. If this is of interest to you, a quick internet search can typically pull up multiple boating companies that offer this service near you. In addition, it’s important to note that federal law requires that ashes are scattered at least 3 nautical miles from shore and the EPA must be notified within 30 days of doing a scattering at sea.
  • Yard or Other Private Property – Similar to most other states, in Maryland there are no restrictions related to scattering ashes in your yard or on other property you own. If you want to scatter on another person’s private property, be sure to get their permission first.
  • Public Property – Maryland has many beautiful sights and unmatched natural landscapes. If you want to scatter on public property, visit the county or city offices where you plan to scatter to find out if there are any local rules and regulations in place that need to be followed.
  • National Parks – Maryland is home to 18 of our amazing National Parks. National Parks are preferred scattering destinations for many people in Maryland and throughout the country. If you’re interested in scattering ashes at a National Park, it’s a good idea to reach out to the park ranger’s office at that location to find out if scattering is permitted there and if any regulations exist. Every park has their own set of rules and many require permits which can take weeks or even months to obtain.
  • By Air – Similar to most other states, there are no Maryland state laws that restrict scattering ashes from an airplane. However, federal aviation law prohibits people from dropping any objects from above that can potentially harm people or damage property. So, make sure that the urn or other container used to scatter is held on to and not dropped with the ashes.

What to Use to Scatter Ashes?

With the significant increase in the amount of people choosing cremation over burial (mainly due to a much lower cremation cost among other factors), many new cremation urns and memorial options have recently been introduced, including some that are designed to scatter ashes.

Below we’ve highlighted a few of the more popular urns designed to scatter.

Eco Water Urn

With its beautiful and long coastline, scattering ashes at sea is a popular option in Maryland. The Eco Water Urn is a relatively new product that has quickly become a leading scattering at sea urn offered by funeral homes and cremation providers in Maryland and throughout the country. This patent pending biodegradable urn is made from recycled plant materials and floats upright similar to a buoy for up to a few minutes, then gracefully scatters the ashes in the water from the bottom of the urn. The Eco Water Urn is packaged in an attractive bamboo case, perfect to securely transport the urn holding a loved one’s ashes to that special place on the water for the scattering.

Eco Scattering Urn

The patented Eco Scattering Urn is one of the leading urns designed to scatter available today. This unique urn is offered by thousands of funeral homes throughout the country and is made entirely from bamboo, a fast-growing sustainable resource. This attractive urn includes a proprietary locking mechanism on top of the urn, giving people the ability to secure ashes in the urn while traveling to that special place to scatter and making it easy on families to scatter with control. In addition, the Eco Scattering Urns can be laser engraved with your loved one’s name, a saying, symbol, or any other information you want – all for a reasonable price.

Scattering Urns Made from Paper

There are a number of scattering urns available that are manufactured from paper and include a nature scene or a symbol or design printed on the outside. These urns are reasonably priced and are relatively easy to use. However, they do come with a few potential drawbacks, including: 1) during the loading process the inner piece of the urn needs to be glued together; and 2) some of the urns can break down if they get wet or are used during a storm or other weather event.

Multiple Memorials

With the significant increase in the amount of people choosing to be cremated, many new memorial options are now available that incorporate cremated ashes. With so many wonderful options, many families find it to be a challenge to select a single memorial and will choose to divide up a loved one’s ashes and include a portion in a few different memorials. This sometimes includes scattering a portion of the ashes at a meaningful place, then using some or all of the remaining cremated ashes in a bio urn to grow a tree memorial, in jewelry, a diamond, or a stone, or have them infused in a glass decoration that can provide an array of color, among many other great options.