Can You Use a Drone While Boating?

Have you ever longed to record breathtaking overhead footage of your sailing adventures? Flying a drone while boating can provide a new viewpoint on your adventure, but there are some critical points to keep in mind to guarantee a safe and enjoyable experience. There are numerous variables to consider, ranging from picking the correct drone to checking local restrictions, practicing in a safe location, and being careful of weather conditions. In this post, we’ll go through how to use a drone while boating so you can shoot amazing footage while remaining safe on the water!

What are Drones and How They Became Popular

Military applications led to the initial development of remotely controlled unmanned aerial vehicles also referred to as drones or RC UAVs. Drones have been employed for commercial, military, and recreational reasons across a number of industries since their initial commercial success. Among amateurs, drones immediately became incredibly popular, and their appeal has recently grown dramatically.

One of the aspects influencing drones’ appeal is their accessibility. Compared to more traditional aerial photography and filming equipment like helicopters or planes, drones are far less expensive and simpler to operate. They also provide a unique perspective that is difficult to get from other sources.

The toy helicopters and airplanes of the past are not like drones. Current drones have cutting-edge technologies and are much more reliable and straightforward to fly. For beginners, selecting the ideal product can take time due to the enormous feature set and wide variation. There are four types of drones: plug-and-play (PNP), almost-ready-to-fly (ARTF), and bind-and-fly (BNF).

What are Drones and How They Became Popular

Can You Use a Drone While Boating?

Yes, you can operate a drone while boating, but there are several regulations and safety precautions to be aware of. Flying a drone from a boat, whether a kayak, sailboat, or yacht, is a challenging and occasionally risky task for novice and experienced pilots. Due to insufficient planning and miscalculation of the challenge, numerous incidents resulted in collisions, being lost in the water, or injuring people.

Essential Items You May Need to Bring 

1. Leather or garden gloves. Drones have propellers that spin quickly and can cause serious injury if they come into touch with your skin. Sturdy leather gloves can act as a barrier between your hands and the propellers, lowering the chance of harm. Furthermore, flying a drone demands precision control, which gloves might help you achieve. This is especially useful if your hands are wet or slippery as a result of being on a boat.

2. Monitor hood. Sun glare might make it harder to see what’s on the screen. This can make it difficult to manage the drone and perhaps lead you to lose track of it. If you are a pilot who frequently flies your drone, you have definitely encountered unpleasant moments when, despite adjusting the display’s brightness to its maximum, you still can’t see it properly on the screen. Flying a drone on a boat on a sunny day will almost certainly get you into trouble. Occasionally, a monitor hood will suffice.

3. Peaked Cap. As the drone takes off or you land it by hand, a peaked cap may protect you. A peaked cap can also provide shade for your face and protect your skin from UV rays. A peaked cap might help increase your overall visibility while flying the drone by shading your face. You’ll have better vision and be more aware of your surroundings.

4. Extra Two or More Full-Charged Batteries. Landing a drone on a moving boat is difficult. Therefore always remember to start getting the drone back while the battery level is 50% or above since you will need more time for the landing, and the drone will not likely descend before the battery expires. Because the real flight time will be smaller than that of flying on the ground if you wish to shoot images or films, two or more batteries are recommended.

Pre-Flight Tips for Drone Flying While Boating

There are a few pre-flight tests you should perform before taking your drone out for a flight on your boat to ensure the safety of yourself, your drone, and those around you.

1. Have Plenty of Practice. Make certain that you have a lot of expertise and know everything there is to know about your aircraft. You’ll be able to operate your drone more safely and efficiently if you practice and learn everything there is to know about it. 

2. Learn Flying in ATTI mode. Aside from fundamental flying and shooting training and practice, it is preferable to learn how to fly a DJI drone in ATTI mode. ATTI mode is a flying mode that disables the aircraft’s GPS, GLONASS, and obstacle avoidance systems while maintaining altitude and attitude.

3. Have a Weather Check. Check that the weather is clear and that your drone can withstand the wind. Otherwise, it may just blow away. Flying a drone in bad weather may be risky, not just for the drone but also for other vessels and persons nearby. Wind, rain, and fog may all reduce vision and make controlling the drone more difficult, resulting in mishaps or collisions.

4. Calibrate Your Done. Several expert pilots who frequently fly from a boat stated that proper calibration on land will save you time and money. Several claimed to have had drone flips and fly-aways while calibrating on a boat but had no problems while doing it on land.

5. Ensure Your Flying Area is Not a No-Fly Zone. Check that you will not be flying in a no-fly zone. Check the airspace you intend to use ahead of time to avoid any complications.



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Takeoff Tips for Drone Flying While Boating

1. Metal Surfaces Should be Avoided. If you’re aboard a large yacht made of heavy metals, try to find a non-metallic table or utilize your plastic storage box. When sailing in the ocean, it frequently causes compass mistakes and is difficult to recalibrate.

2. Sit Down or Maintain a Safe Distance from the Drone. Nobody knows what will happen after launch; keeping a safe distance from the drone will keep you safe from the fast-spinning propellers. You’ll also have ample time to intervene if it starts to stray.

3. Ensure the Drone is Above Your Head when Hand-Launching. If you wish to launch the drone by hand, make sure it’s over your head. Hand launching may be a quick and easy way to launch your drone, especially if you’re launching from a boat. It eliminates the requirement for a landing pad or takeoff area, making it an excellent choice for boats with limited room.

4. Get the Drone into the Air ASAP. When releasing a drone from a moving boat, it’s critical to keep the drone as near to the boat as possible. Launching the drone swiftly and smoothly decreases the chance of it colliding with the boat or becoming entangled in the boat’s wake.

On-Flight Tips for Drone Flying While Boating

1. Be on Dynamic Mode. Configure your home point to Dynamic so that your remote controller serves as the return-to-home point at all times. In a few minutes, the boat will have moved away from the takeoff site.

2. Ensure the Drone Stays Visible. Maintain your drone’s line of sight. Because you’ll be aboard a moving boat, knowing where your drone is critical, you can’t afford to waste time looking for it before landing.

3. Switch to GPS Mode when Launched with ATTI mode. While ATTI mode is beneficial for launching a drone in challenging situations, it is critical to switch to GPS mode as soon as possible to ensure the drone’s stability. GPS mode uses satellites to detect the drone’s position and stability, whereas ATTI mode just employs the drone’s internal sensors.

Landing Tips for Drone Flying While Boating

1. Retrieve the Drone at 50% Battery. That may sound ridiculous, but it is usually best to give yourself additional time for the often difficult landing. If you have a broad landing zone, you might be able to attempt 40% or even lower.

2. Ensure Safe Landing Zone. If you intend to land aboard the boat, make sure you have a sufficiently spacious and safe landing zone. Make careful to clear the landing zone of any impediments or debris that might interfere with the landing before attempting to land your drone on your boat. Remove any loose things that might be blown about by the propellers of the drone.

3. Turn Off the Obstacle Avoidance System. You may need to disable the obstacle avoidance function, especially if you have a tiny boat and it is interfering with your landing skills. The obstacle avoidance technology is intended to help the drone avoid collisions with objects in its path. In a small boat, though, this mechanism may conflict with your landing skills. The drone may recognize the boat as an impediment and attempt to avoid it, making landing more difficult.

4. Prepare for Hand-Grabbing Just in Case. When landing on a tiny boat with little deck space, hand grabbing may be your only option. Please keep in mind that capturing a drone by hand is extremely risky and should only be used as a last resort. The person catching the drone should wear a peak cap and gloves; they will not protect the person from injury but will be useful.



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Drones have grown in popularity in recent years owing to their ease of use and unique perspective, and they can be utilized to take incredible footage while boating. Using a drone while on a boat, on the other hand, may be difficult and requires careful preparation, practice, and attention to rules and safety procedures. Drone flying while boating may be a safe and entertaining experience with adequate planning and preparation, bringing a new viewpoint on sailing activities.