Drones have transformed how we shoot photographs and films from the sky, and there’s no better place to experience this technology than on the water. Drones provide a unique perspective that might enhance your boating experience, whether you’re an enthusiastic angler or simply love exploring the vast waters.
Yet, utilizing a drone while boating can be challenging since you must handle changing conditions while ensuring your equipment’s safety. In this post, we’ll provide you some expert tips and tactics for utilizing a drone while boating, so you can shoot spectacular aerial footage while having a safe and fun boating experience. So strap in and prepare to take your sailing adventure to new heights!
What are Drones?
Drones, also called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), perform tasks ranging from the mundane to the extremely dangerous. These robot-like aircraft can be seen rescuing avalanche victims as well as delivering groceries to your door — and almost anywhere in between.
Drones, which were originally designed for the military and aerospace industries, have found their way into the mainstream due to the increased levels of safety and efficiency they provide. These robotic UAVs operate without a pilot and with varying degrees of autonomy.
The level of autonomy of a drone can range from remotely piloted (a human controls its movements) to sophisticated autonomy (a system of sensors and LiDAR detectors calculates its movement).
Basic Controls of Drones
Mastering the fundamental controls of a drone is essentially learning how to fly it (covered in detail below). You will have a smooth flying experience after understanding these controls and determining the best way to utilize them together.
1. Rolling – Drones are rolled by moving the right stick on your smartphone screen or remote controller to the right or left. You can roll your drone left or right to avoid obstacles or do stunts in the air.
2. Pitching – A drone is pitched by moving the right stick on your phone’s screen or remote controller forward or backward. Depending on where you put the stick, this will cause your drone to tilt backward or forward.
3. Yawing – You may yaw a drone by pressing the left stick on your smartphone or remote device. This will cause your drone to spin left or right, allowing you to adjust its orientation during flight.
4. Throttling – To boost and decrease your drone’s throttle, move the left stick forward and backward accordingly. As you use the stick on the remote controller to throttle, the motor(s) modify the height and altitude of the quadcopter and provide a forward/backward traveling speed.
5. Trim Buttons – If the pitch, roll, or yaw settings appear to be out of calibration or off-balance, you can alter them with the trim buttons.
6. Rudder Stick – The controller’s left stick is also known as the rudder. It relates to regulating the yaw movement of a drone.
7. Aileron Stick – Another word for the controller’s right stick is an aileron. It relates to regulating a drone’s roll movement.
8. Elevator Stick – Elevator is also another word for the controller’s right stick. However, it applies to regulating the pitch movement of a drone (forward and backward direction).
Types of Drones
Drones are not the same as toy helicopters. Current drones are significantly more stable, easier to fly, and equipped with cutting-edge technology. Yet, a vast feature set and a wide range make it tough for beginners to select the ideal product for them. Drones are classified as ready-to-fly (RTF), almost-ready-to-fly (ARTF), plug-and-play (PNP), or bind-and-fly (BNF).
Things You Need Before Using a Drone While Boating
Protective gloves – Drone propellers spin fast and can cause significant harm if they come into contact with your body. Leather or garden gloves can function as a barrier between your hands and the propellers, reducing the risk of injury. Additionally, piloting a drone necessitates precise control, which gloves may assist you in achieving. This is especially helpful if your hands are wet or slick from being on a boat.
Monitor hood – Solar glare may make seeing what’s on the screen difficult. This can make controlling the drone difficult and cause you to lose track of it. If you are a frequent drone pilot, you have undoubtedly faced uncomfortable moments when you still can’t see it well on the screen after setting the display’s brightness to its highest. On a bright day, flying a drone on a boat will most likely get you in trouble, which is when a monitor hood will serve you on purpose.
Peaked Cap – A peaked cap may shield you while the drone takes off or you land it by hand. A peaked cap can help protect your skin from UV radiation while providing shade for your face. Wearing a peaked cap may also be more pleasant than direct sun exposure. It may keep you cool while also protecting your head and face from sunburn.
Extra Batteries – It is tough to land a drone on a moving boat. As a result, always begin retrieving the drone when the battery level is 50% or above since you will need a longer time for the landing, and the drone will not likely descend before the battery runs out. Two or more batteries are advised since the actual flight time will be less than that of flying on the ground if you want to take photographs or films.
Tips Before Flying the Drone
1. Before taking your drone out for a boat ride, make sure you’ve had lots of practice and know everything there is to know about your aircraft. You’re more likely to crash your drone if you don’t have enough skill and understanding, inflicting damage to the drone and perhaps hurting people or animals nearby. This may be avoided with practice and knowledge.
2. Apart from basic flying and shooting instruction and practice, learning how to operate a drone in ATTI mode is highly recommended. ATTI mode is a flight mode in which the aircraft’s GPS, GLONASS, and obstacle avoidance systems are turned off while maintaining altitude and attitude. While in GPS mode, the drone’s motions might be choppy as it attempts to retain its location. Flying in ATTI mode can provide more natural-looking footage.
3. It is critical to examine the weather conditions before flying a drone while boating. Drones are sensitive and costly pieces of technology that can easily be destroyed by the environment. The drone’s sensitive electronics can be damaged by rain or sea spray, and wind might cause the drone to crash or be blown away.
4. Before taking flight, calibrate your drone. According to some skilled pilots who routinely fly from a boat, correct calibration on land will save you time and money. Some people reported having had drone flips and flyaways while calibrating on a boat but not on land.
Tips for Takeoff and Flying the Drone
1. If you’re on a huge boat built of heavy metals, look for a non-metallic table or use your plastic storage box. When sailing on the ocean, compass errors are common and difficult to correct.
2. Nobody knows what will happen when the drone is launched; keeping a safe distance from it will keep you safe from the fast-spinning propellers. You will also have plenty of time to intervene if it begins to stray.
3. Keep your drone’s line of sight visible. You can’t afford to lose time hunting for your drone before landing because you’ll be on a moving boat.
4. Set your home point to Dynamic so that your controller always acts as the return-to-home point. The boat will have drifted away from the launch spot in a matter of minutes.
Tips for Landing the Drone
1. When flying a drone, it’s critical to keep an eye on the battery level. The battery life of a drone varies based on the model, although most drones have a flying time of roughly 20-30 minutes per charge. Retrieve the drone when the battery is 50% charged. You might be able to try 40% or even lower if you have a large landing zone.
2. If you plan to land on the boat, ensure you have a wide enough and secure landing zone. When attempting to land your drone on your boat, make sure the landing zone is clear of any obstructions or debris that might interfere with the landing. Eliminate any loose items that might be blown about by the drone’s propellers.
3. If you have a small boat and the obstacle avoidance function is interfering with your landing abilities, you may need to disable it. The obstacle avoidance system will assist the drone in avoiding collisions with objects in its path. But, in a tiny boat, this device may interfere with your landing abilities. The drone may perceive the boat as a barrier and seek to avoid it, complicating the landing.
While operating a drone while boating may be an exciting and gratifying experience, it also demands cautious preparation and execution. You can ensure a safe and effective drone flight by following the advice suggested in this tutorial, such as monitoring weather conditions, being cautious of battery life, and avoiding regions with obstructions. Considering these factors, you may record spectacular aerial footage of your boating experiences and advance your photography and filmmaking talents. Always remember that safety comes first, and with the proper preparation, you may have a terrific drone flying experience while boating.