As cremation becomes more and more popular, families are finding that they want to scatter a loved one’s ashes. The release of the ashes can be a very spiritual and uplifting experience. Many families are faced with the question of how to scatter ashes. There are three basic ways of how to scatter ashes: by hand, by boat, and by airplane. Before a family decides which method of how to scatter ashes is best for them, they need to consider what experience they would like to have.
Before choosing any method of scattering ashes, it is usually helpful to have some background information. The first thing we need to know is what “ashes” really are. The term “ashes” is a layperson’s term for cremated remains. Cremated remains are the processed particles of bone that are left over from the cremation process, so they aren’t really ashes at all. The particles can also vary in size – depending on how they are processed, they can range from a fine powder to the size of playground bark, and on rare occasions there will be pieces that are clearly identifiable as bone. Metal objects, such as a denture framework, may also be mixed in with the cremated remains. Usually, however, the particles are about the size of Grape Nuts. So when you are thinking about how to scatter ashes, keep this in mind. Your friends and family might be surprised to see these larger particles or metal objects. The second thing to consider when deciding how to scatter ashes is how the cremated remains are packaged. The cremated remains are usually in a plastic bag inside of the urn. The urn may be sealed really well, and the plastic bag may be tied with a zip tie. So you must be prepared to open the urn and carefully get into the packaging inside.
So now we can discuss the benefits and limitations of the various ways of how to scatter ashes. The first method of how to scatter ashes is by hand. In this method, the family usually walks out to the desired location and scatters the ashes directly from the urn onto the ground. This can be a very peaceful experience for all involved. If scattering by hand is your plan for how to scatter ashes, talk to your funeral director in advance. There are urns made especially for scattering that may make the process a little easier. And it may be prudent to open the urn and access the ashes before you head out to that beautiful spot with your family and friends.
The second method of how to scatter ashes is by boat. This usually involves chartering a boat for a few hours. Family and friends set out on a voyage to the desired spot in the ocean. The cremated remains are placed in the water and allowed to descend into the water. Sometimes family members are allowed to do the scattering themselves. The boat needs to be placed into the wind and moving at the right speed. If done incorrectly, the ashes may end up back in the boat instead of in the water, so make sure you choose a reputable company with an experienced captain who knows how to scatter ashes. Keep in mind that a scattering ceremony on a boat may last a few hours, and if the seas are rough your guests may get seasick.
The third method of how to scatter ashes is by airplane. Unlike scattering by hand or scattering by boat where the ashes are placed at the desired locations, scattering of ashes by airplane is a more thorough scattering. This means that the scattering is done over a larger area. The cremated remains are released into the wind. Some of the ashes will descend to the earth below while the rest travel with the wind before descending. By choosing an airplane as your method of how to scatter ashes, you have more options for location and participation. Airplanes can access areas that are not accessible by foot or by boat. Families can participate by being on board the airplane or watching from the ground. It is important to work with a pilot that has experience in how to scatter ashes. Every pilot seems to have a story of an attempt to scatter ashes that doesn’t go well. If the pilot doesn’t know how to scatter ashes from the plane, it is likely the ashes will end up back in the plane or all over the side of the plane. If you are thinking of scattering ashes by airplane make sure you seek out a pilot who has experience on how to scatter ashes. Look for an established business with professional liability insurance, commercial-rated pilots and a strong track record.
No matter which method you choose for how to scatter the ashes of your loved one, it is important to know the laws. There are federal, state and local laws that govern various parts of how to scatter ashes. You can check with your funeral director on how to scatter ashes in your area. But since some funeral directors may not arrange many scatterings, they may not know all of the legal issues that apply. We suggest looking for a reputable company to help you in your time of need. Find a business that only deals in how to scatter ashes. They will have the most current information and will be able to help you make the process as simple as possible.
Scattering ashes can bring closure to a family in a beautiful way if done correctly. If done incorrectly, it can be devastating. You only get one chance to get it right. We encourage you to work with a professional who knows how to scatter ashes and navigate the legal issues that go along with the scattering. Please contact us if you have any questions on how to scatter ashes and what the best method for you might be.