Ash Scattering at Sea

Memorial Services – Cape Cod

A funeral at sea is a time-honored tradition which offers a moving and dignified alternative to a conventional funeral.  Services may take many forms – from an unattended scattering of cremains, to elaborate ceremonies including guests and clergy of choice.  Whatever your preferences, Down Cape Charters will work to create a beautiful, meaningful and loving tribute for your loved one.


The striking of eight bells at noon harkens back to the days of sail, when time was kept by a trickle of sand through a half-hour glass.  One bell was rung for each passing half-hour to help keep track of watches while at sea.  At the end of a four-hour watch, with the striking of eight bells, the watch would change.  Eight bells – the end of watch – can also mark a seaman’s death, meaning a sailor has “finished his final watch”.

Down Cape Charters is proud to honor these maritime traditions with our symbolic “End of Watch” tribute.  Whether your loved one enjoyed ties to Cape Cod or simply felt a love for the sea, we hope our services can provide a level of comfort and closure during a very challenging and emotional time.


Our ash scatterings are typically performed within sight of the Chatham Lighthouse – one of the most iconic and historic lighthouses in the country.  While the sea itself becomes a memorial to the deceased, the lighthouse can provide a tangible location to visit and look out on the area where your loved one was laid to rest.  Family and friends are welcome to visit year round, watching the sun rise over the water or walking the beach below.

– Lives well lived deserve a fond farewell filled with love and respect. –


Location of Ash Scattering

Compliant with EPA requirements, ashes will be scattered no closer than 3 nautical miles from land.  Our standard service will leave Pleasant Bay and travel the appropriate distance due east of the Chatham Lighthouse.

Alternatively, scatterings can be performed off of Nauset Lighthouse and Nauset Beach to the north or Monomoy Island to the south.  If you have a special spot in mind we will do our best to accommodate your request.

Order of Tribute

Once we arrive at the desired location, the service typically involves making 3 circles.

During the first circle, a family member (or clergy) is often designated to say a few words or to read a special verse.  If you prefer, the Captain is also available to recite and share any poems or prayers you may choose.

During the second circle the ashes will be released.  Down Cape Charters will provide:

  • A biodegradable urn, if needed.
  • Rose petals.  While additional flowers and/or wreaths are welcome, please note that all items released during the ash scattering ceremony must decompose.  No plastic flowers or other non-biodegradable items should be released.
  • Water soluble cards for any final messages the family may wish to write.

At the appropriate time, the captain (or a family member) will lower the urn into the water and afterwards, a moment of silence is observed.

The third and final circle provides an opportunity for placing additional flowers and for remembrances and prayers.  The captain will finish with a captains prayer followed by the ringing of the “Eight Bells” signaling the end of the departed’s “watch”.

Once the service is complete the boat will typically return to land.  However, extended cruises of any duration can be arranged.  

Ash Scattering at Sea

Memorial Service


1-6 Passengers    $1,250.00

7-12 Passengers  $1,650.00


  • The services of a USCG licensed captain plus all taxes, fees and fuel charges.
  • Duration:  2 hrs
  • Bottled water.
  • All required paperwork and filings required by the EPA.
  • An official Memorial at Sea certificate marking the latitude and longitude of your loved one’s final resting place.  Additional copies available for purchase  ($10).
  • Rose petals.
  • Biodegradable urn, if needed.
  • Water Soluble cards for any final messages the family may wish to leave.
  • End of Watch tribute by captain.
  • Bluetooth speaker

Rates are shown for the standard itinerary described above.

We would be happy to quote you a price on a custom service if you have other ideas in mind besides our standard tribute.  Please call us at 508-241-4070 to discuss your preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start the process for an ash scattering at sea?

Just call us at 508-241-4070 or email us at  In addition to the information found on the site, we are always available to speak with you to ensure a positive experience and answer any questions or concerns you or family members may have.

What documentation will I need to provide?

We will need a signed and completed Authorization Form.  A death certificate will not be necessary.

After the service, we will prepare all EPA required paperwork and submit on your behalf.

Will a permit be required?

There are no required permits for an ash scattering burial at sea in the state of Massachusetts.  The EPA does require that:

  • Ashes be scattered no closer than 3 nautical miles from shore.
  • Notification be sent to the EPA regional office within 30 days after the event.

Down Cape Charters complies with all EPA requirements and will process all required paperwork on your behalf. 

Do you offer unaccompanied ash scattering service?

Yes.  If you choose not to attend the scattering at sea or are unable to attend, we can perform the service, process all EPA paperwork and send you a certificate documenting the time/location.

Our pricing does not change for an unattended service.  Instead, we will add a crew member to the trip and video record the service on your behalf.  A flash drive with the edited video will be sent directly to you at no extra cost.

How many passengers can attend the ceremony?

Bellamy can accommodate up to 14 passengers.  The captain does not count towards this total but please be aware that any clergy – and even children/infants – do.

Can we have a religious clergy attend and perform a service?

Of course.  Any religious service or prayer service is welcome.

Alternatively, the Captain is honored to be able to recite and share any poems or prayers of your choosing.

Can you provide or play specific music?

If you have any special music or songs in mind, we can easily connect your Bluetooth capable device directly to our audio system on board.  Otherwise, we have a general playlist that we can use/not use at your discretion.

How far in advance do I need to book the service?

Depending on the time of year, we may have plenty of times to choose from or be completely booked for several weeks.  Booking as far in advance as possible will ensure that your preferred date and time for service is available.

Can we bring our own flowers to scatter along with the ashes?

Down Cape Charters will provide rose petals for the scattering.  However, you are welcome to bring additional flowers or wreaths to scatter so long as they are completely biodegradable – no plastics, foil, etc.  

Do we need an urn?

You are welcome to bring/use any biodegradable urn designed to be released into the water.  Down Cape Charters will provide a medium sized standard biodegradable urn if needed.

How far offshore will we need to travel?

The EPA requires that we travel a minimum of 3 nautical miles from land for ash scattering.  We cannot perform this service within Pleasant Bay or within that boundary.

How long is your ash scattering service?

Each group is different.  We allocate 2 hrs for our standard order of service described above.  However, we never want to rush a service so are willing to stretch to 2.5 hrs as is necessary.

For groups that finish faster, we are happy to spend any unused portion of the 2 hrs sightseeing or cruising Pleasant Bay.

Alternatively, longer trips can be arranged for an additional fee.

What is your cancellation policy? What if there is bad weather?

For cancellations made 48 hours or more in advance a full refund will be issued.  Cancellations made less than 48 hours in advance will be charged 50%.  No-shows and cancellations made less than 2 hrs before the trip will be charged full price.  We regret that we cannot make exceptions for personal emergencies as a cause for late cancellation.

We will not operate in hazardous weather conditions such as heavy rain, thick fog, high winds or thunder storms.  However, no guarantees can be made that every day will be perfectly sunny.  So we will operate as usual in overcast conditions, light fog and in intermittent sprinkles.  The final decision on weather related cancellations rests with us and reservations should be considered upheld unless you speak with us directly over the phone.  If weather cancels your reservation we will make every effort to reschedule for another day.  Otherwise, a full refund will be issued.  If weather cuts your trip short, we will prorate the unused portion.

All refunds will be at the sole discretion of Down Cape Charters & Boat Rentals, Inc.

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