Want to know if you can you fly drone at a beach? Here are a few tips and guides. Read on to know more!
You would have marveled at some incredible aerial shots captured at the beach and at the shore. Drones are the singular best option when it comes to aerial photography and they do it exceptionally well at the seaside.
For water sports buffs and surfers, drones are a popular choice to picture their action on the water. The scenes and actions at the beach provide an immensely interesting topic for drone photography.
Before giving vent to your cinematographic imaginations at the seaside, the drone enthusiast in you may first want to know if you are allowed to fly a drone at the beach.
FAA does not have any specific laws to regulate flying drones at the beach. This means that you are free to fly your drone at the seaside provided the region is not a national park or a restricted spot as per local regulations.
Nevertheless, wherever you fly your drone, you can’t overlook FAA’s general rules regarding drones.
Can you fly drone at a beach?
What you must know about flying your drone at a beach
You will love this good news for sure. There are no specific laws in place to regulate if you can fly a drone at a beach. Therefore, you are free to film the scenes and actions at the beach.
However, you must remember that there could be some specific rules on flying a drone at a particular beach in question. Often, these rules could be unspoken or could have been set by the local authority in-charge of the beach.
Can you fly drone at a beach?
Getting your drone to the seaside on a vacation to capture some interesting shots for posting on the social media is a lovable idea.
Drones are very good at capturing aerial pictures and videos and this is a big reason why a lot of surfers and water sports enthusiasts prefer them to record their actions and adventures on the water.
Drones can take photographs and videos from some awesome angles that are not possible in normal photography.
A lot of people are already using drones at the beach to take photos and videos. However, it is still important to know if it is legal to fly your drone at a beach so that you do not land unpleasant consequences of any violations.
To get the answer to the question, “Can you fly drone at a beach?,” you need to understand if there are any local restrictions placed by the community where the particular beach is located.
FAA is the federal agency that regulates the use of all kinds of aircrafts including drones. While there are FAA rules in place to dictate how and how not drones must be flown, there are no specific rules on the use of drones at the beach.
So, you are allowed to fly your drone at a beach provided there are no specific local regulations in place at the particular beach.
Are there exceptional conditions when I can’t fly a drone at a beach?
While figuring out whether flying drone is allowed in the particular beach in question, there are a few questions to address.
Local governing bodies at cities and towns may have their own laws to restrict the use of drones at some specific places.
In case a local government has prohibited the use of drones at some beaches, there will be some sign postings to share this information with the visitors.
Usually, a sign board indicates this with a picture of a drone with a diagonal red line through it, meaning drone flying is not permitted in the area.
Drone flying is not allowed in areas where national parks are located. This also includes dedicated beach lands earmarked for national parks.
Therefore, do not fly your drone in a beach that is part of a national seashore or park.
Also, one another thing to bear in mind is that the general FAA rules regarding flying drones hold good while flying a drone at a beach too.
So, you must ensure to abide by the restrictions and limitations on flying drones and consider the activity of flying a drone at the beach as no different from flying one in any other area.
Precautions to take while flying a drone at a beach
Though there are no specific rules on flying a drone at a beach, there are a few pointers you must always keep in mind when you are at the beach with your drone.
Some of these points focus on mutual respect while the others are connected to the general rules about drones.
Never fly a drone over people
This is perhaps the most important rule while trying to fly a drone. Whether you fly your drone in the heart of the city or at a beach, you must ensure not to fly it over people.
While capturing pictures or videos at the seaside, you may be on a hunt for different good angles. In the process, ensure that your drone does not fly right over people due to the several safety concerns involved.
The point is if you happen to lose control of the drone, it must not crash on somebody’s head causing injury to the person.
Especially in the middle of summer, it is quite common to spot crowds at the seashore. Therefore, you must exercise a great caution while trying to fly your drone at a crowded beach.
If the beach is overcrowded, you may either look for a less crowded area in the beach or wait till late evening or early morning so that the crowd can subside.
Always keep the drone within your line of sight
Whatever be the situation of flying your drone, you must make sure to fly your drone within the visual line of sight.
This will mean that when your drone is at flight, you must always be able to see it free of any visual obstructions. While ensuring this, you must not wait till you lose sight of it.
While flying your drone at the beach, it is important to be able to see it in plain sight. You must avoid flying the drone at a beach that has a lot of obstructions which may block your sight of the drone.
More than this, it is important that your eyes must always be set on the drone when you operate it irrespective of the other activities you might be engaged in at the beach.
Do not depend on any other aids while the drone is at flight as it is highly recommended to use your eyes for the same.
At times, you may be tempted to use the drone camera to know the drone’s location, but FAA has mandated that you must always make use of your eyes to ensure that the drone is within the visual line of sight during its flight.
One exception to this rule is that you are allowed to use a visual observer for keeping the drone within your view.
If you have your FPV goggles on while flying your drone or if you have set your drone to automatically film you at water sport, you must ask a friend to keep sight of the drone in the air to comply with this rule.
Fly the drone within the permitted altitude
As per FAA regulation, the altitude limit for flying a drone is 400 feet. Beyond this altitude, manned commercial aerial activity can happen.
FAA regulations require those who fly their drone to keep its maximum distance at not more than 400 feet so that it will not have to collide with a military or commercial aircraft.
While flying your drone on the beach, you must follow this rule. While you are at the beach, you may be tempted to lift your drone to more heights since there will not be any vertical obstructions at the seaside.
However, remember to follow this maximum altitude rule for drones strictly so that you will not have to face any consequences.
It is possible that some aircraft flies low near the beach which can collide with your fly machine causing a serious problem to both the aircrafts.
Follow the rules and regulations of the community
FAA has not issued any specific rules on flying drones at the beach. However, it is very important to check if there are any local laws to follow.
Some state or local governing bodies might have put some rules in place to govern the flying of drones in the community.
A good example to this is state law regarding flying drones at the beach. Some states might have some exclusive guidelines on flying drones at some specific situations and locations.
The same can be said about the drone laws put in place by the local bodies of some cities and towns. In some communities, the local laws would have banned flying drones at the beach or at some designated areas.
There could also be some laws on what you must not do with your drone at the beach. However, the good news is that in most beaches in Florida and California, there are no restrictions on what you can do with your drone at the beach.
Don’t fly drones on beaches located near airports
Every drone pilot must be aware of the general rule that drones must not be flown within the radius of 5 miles around any airport.
If the beach where you want to fly your drone is within 5 miles from any airport, the option of flying your drone there is completely out of question.
Some beaches could be oddly located near airports. Irrespective of how alluring the scenes are and how great the surfing activity is at the beach, you are not allowed to fly your drone in these beaches.
It is quite obvious why FAA has put this rule in place. The federal agency wants to ensure that commercial aircrafts are safe from drones in these regions.
Drones are relatively much smaller than helicopters and airplanes. Still there are chances that drones are struck in the rotors and engines of these aircraft.
Such incidents can cause disaster to your drone as well as the aircraft and people onboard. The point to take from here is, never fly your drone at the beach located close to the airport.
Even with this rule in place, you can still fly your drone near the airport if you have got a waiver from the FAA.
So, if you are planning to fly your drone at a beach that is close to the airport, apply for this waiver before getting there.
Before this, the best thing to do is to do some study to find out if the beach in question is close to an airport.
This is because some popular beaches are located quite close to some airports. Therefore, it is your responsibility to do some study to know if the beach you are visiting with your drone is within 5 miles distance from an airport.
Jon is a passionate photographer and videographer who has been flying DJI drones for over 5 years. He loves the freedom and creativity that comes with capturing aerial footage and the unique perspective it provides. Jon is always on the lookout for new locations to explore and capture with his DJI drones. His favorite DJI drone is the Mavic 2 Pro, which he uses to capture stunning 4K footage with its Hasselblad camera. Jon is always eager to share his knowledge and experience with other drone enthusiasts and is a member of several online drone communities. When he’s not flying his DJI drone, Jon enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time with his family.