While our typical itinerary is described below, the actual form the ash scattering ceremony takes is entirely up to you and your family. Trips can be – and often are – customized to each individual group.
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 decorative basket designed to release ashes in a controlled manner. This provides for a more dignified ceremony as the wind no longer plays a factor. Alternatively, the family may choose to use a biodegradable urn purchased through a funeral home.
- Rose petals to place within the basket. 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 leave. These will also be placed within the basket.
At the appropriate time, the captain (or a family member) will lower the basket into the water and afterwards, retrieve it using the attached line. A moment of silence is then conducted.
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.