Is it Legal to Scatter Ashes?

After losing a loved one, family members and friends often look for thoughtful ways to memorialize the deceased. Usually, a funeral and a memorial service follow the death of a loved one. However, more families are choosing cremation as part of their funeral and burial arrangements. To do so, they often look for creative and meaningful ways to pay homage to their loved ones, and most of them chose to scatter ashes and perform scattering ceremonies.

Nevertheless, before trenching ashes, it is important to remember that Florida has regulations and laws about how and where ashes can be scattered.

What Are the Laws on Scattering Ashes?

Scattering ashes has become a meaningful way to remember a loved one, and a thoughtful ceremony for the family to celebrate the life of the deceased. Some families chose to scatter the ashes in a location that was special to the deceased, and many find comfort in believing their loved ones will rest in a place that meant something important to them.

In Florida, there are no state laws that restrict scattering ashes. There are also no regulations or laws that determine where you can store them, so you can choose to store cremated remains in a crypt, grave, niche, or a container at home.

However, there are some regulations in place in specific locations that prohibit the scattering of ashes on public lands or waterways.

Scattering Ashes in Florida: Do’s & Don’ts

Bearing in mind the regulations on public land and waterways, there are other common sense things to consider when it comes to scattering ashes in Florida. Following these practices will help you make sure you don’t run into any trouble:

DO: Ask permission before scattering ashes on private property.

DON’T: Scatter ashes on public lands, such as public parks, city streets, monuments, or town squares.

DO: Verify a location is either private or public property; for example, stadiums and amusement parks are private property.

DON’T: Scatter ashes on waterways, such as water canals.

Where Can You Scatter Your Loved One’s Ashes?

If your family has chosen to scatter your loved one’s ashes in Florida, there are many places to pay tribute to their living legacy. Planning a scattering ceremony means you have to choose the right place, find out if you need any permits from the city, and select the right cremation urn to proceed with the ceremony.

Scattering Gardens

Inquire with your cemetery of your family’s choice if they have a scattering garden in the property. These are often designated areas within the memorial park for families to scatter their loved one’s ashes. Before you do, make sure to inform the cemetery of your plans so they can give you instructions and advice on how to proceed.

Private Land

In Florida, you are allowed to scatter ashes on your private property. However, when it comes to someone else’s private land, you have to request authorization. Private property includes stadiums, amusement parks, stores, and so on.

Federal Land

If you’re planning to scatter ashes on federal land, you must request permission. The same rules apply for local or state property. If you are planning to scatter the ashes on national parks, you can see the guidelines for trenching ashes on the National Park Service website.


Many families choose to scatter their loved ones’ ashes on the ocean. In this case, the federal Clean Water Act requires families who want to scatter cremated remain to do so at least three nautical miles from land. This is the only case in which the cremation urn must be a biodegradable urn, similar to the ones used for green burials. If you choose any other type of cremation urn, you must dispose of the ashes only and keep the urn. Finally, you also need to notify the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) within 30 days of scattering the ashes.


While technically it is illegal to scatter ashes on waterways, families who wish to do this must request a permit. Waterways include rivers, lakes, and canals, and the permit must come from the state agency that manages the waterway.


In Florida, there are no specific laws to scattering ashes by air. However, federal aviation laws do prohibit the dropping of any objects that might cause harm to people or property, in this case, the cremation urns. For the cremated remains, the U.S. government does not consider them hazardous material, which means families might scatter the ashes by air as long as they keep the urn.

Navigating the do’s and don’ts of scattering ashes in Florida can be a complex subject. If you are planning to scatter your loved ones’ ashes in South Florida, speak to one of our caring funeral specialists to help you plan a beautiful scattering ceremony that celebrates the life of your loved one.

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