Rules in Florida for Scattering Cremation Ashes

By Sean Russell - Updated January 29, 2018
Flowers on the sea shore in remembrance

The scattering of cremated ashes can be a beautiful way to pay homage to a loved one, especially if that loved one had a special connection to a particular place. However, it is important to remember that Florida, like other states, has regulations about where and how ashes can be scattered.

Tip

You can't scatter ashes on Florida public land or in waterways, but you can scatter them on private property, in national parks, and in the ocean.

Public Lands

It is illegal in Florida to spread cremated ashes near or on public lands. This regulation includes public parks, city streets, town squares, monuments and other such areas where the public has a legal right to visit. However, this regulation does not apply to national parks in Florida, and it often is possible to get permission to spread ashes there.

Federal Land

It is generally permitted to scatter ashes on public federal land in Florida such as national parks, although will need express permission from the appropriate government agency. You generally will encounter little resistance if you keep away from waterways, trails and roads. The National Park Service website has more information.

Public Waters

Scattering of ashes in a public waterway also is illegal in Florida, to ensure that people cannot accidentally ingest particles of human remains. Since much fresh drinking water comes from rivers, lakes, streams and connected tributaries, these bodies of water all are off limits in Florida. However, you can scatter ashes in the ocean. The Environmental Protection Agency requires only that ashes be scattered at least three miles from the shore. There are many options for those looking to spread ashes over the ocean, including boats and even helicopters. Some companies will place cremated remains on an environmentally friendly cremation reef, which helps to create new marine habitats for fish and other forms of sea life.

Private Property

You're allowed to scatter ashes on your own private property in Florida. If you are scattering ashes on someone else's private property, you must get the permission of the property owner. Florida law also requires that the ceremony be completed in a way that is discreet and sensitive to others. Private property includes many sporting arenas, theaters and private parks. Many Florida cemeteries, while technically private land, provide a scattering garden specifically for this purpose.

No Piles

The state of Florida requires that, when scattering the ashes over land, there be no evident or obvious piles of cremated remaining at the end of the ceremony. In order to ensure that the ashes are spread adequately, it is best to have the ceremony on a windy day and be downwind.

About the Author

Sean Russell has been writing since 1999 and has contributed to several magazines, including "Spin" and "Art Nouveau." When not writing, Sean helps maintain community gardens in Silver Lake and Echo Park, California. Russell also worked extensively on the restoration and rejuvenation of public parks in Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi after damage from 2004-2005 hurricanes.

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