San Francisco, California

Scattering Remains (Cremains) in the San Francisco Area

Until 1999, San Francisco residents who wished their cremated remains to be scattered on inland waters were out of luck. Take 'em to the ocean was the only choice. But then California Assemblyman Tom Torlakson, responding to a scandal at a crematorium in his Bay Area district, set forth legislation to make it legal to scatter cremated remains in navigable waters so long as scattering takes place 500 yards from shore.

That 500 yards means far enough offshore to turn a boat around while remaining 500 yards from land. This bit was added to save surfers and fishing buffs from stepping in Uncle Mortimer as they made their ways to and from their avocations.

Boat owners are uniform that scattering means scattering. No dumping, please.

As there was never a shortage of boats for hire on the Bay, it's now possible to scatter cremated remains from a boat named for a wine varietal. So whatever your fancy, whimsical or subdued, boat owners offer a cruise to suit.

Boat owners ply their trade on Bay or ocean as their charters direct. Some services that scatter remains in the ocean provide Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) coordinates to allow revisiting the site of disposition.

Scattering cremated remains is a service offered by many funeral homes in the Bay Area. Some funeral homes own boats.

Don't overlook that many air services offer ash scattering over water. Many of them are small-plane operations, though, so don't allow passengers or mourning parties.