Want to know how to fly drone over water? Here are the rules and regulations to follow when flying your drone over water. Read more here.
Most consumer drone models you will find in the market today are not water-resistant. However, for some reason, you might want to fly your drone over water. As a drone enthusiast, you might want to know how to fly your drone safely over water while avoiding any possible risks to the fly machine.
There are a few risks in flying your drone over water. Drones have a limited flying time. During their flight, they might accidentally land or fall into the water. If you want to mitigate these risks, there are a few things you must do before trying to fly your drone over water.
In this article, I discuss a few tips to ensure the safety of your drone while flying it over water. You will also learn how to prepare your drone before it flies over the water, and what to do if your drone accidentally falls into the water. In the end, we will also go through the best DJI drone models to fly over water.
How To Fly Drone Over Water
Why you might need to fly your drone over water
Most drone models you find today are neither water-resistant nor waterproof. Therefore, not exposing your drone to water is the best policy any expert will appreciate in a drone owner like you.
At times, you may face some compelling or tempting situations like the following which might force you to take the risk of flying your drone over the water.
Drones satisfy myriad applications today and users fly drones for several purposes. However, drones work great for hobbyists and photographers. There are different things that you might want to capture on camera on the open sea or on the beach for instance.
A drone is the only best option to capture videos or photos of sea surfers. It is not an easy task to get a camera crew over the sea for a purpose like this. Finding good angles to cover such footage from the land is difficult and if you try to do so, the zoom capabilities of even advanced lenses might not be good enough to ensure decent quality output.
One another good reason why you will want your drone to fly over water is fishing. The drone can capture some good photos of you and your team fishing. The drone can also help identify the best spots for fishing. Drones are also used to drop the baits before the fishers cast them with a rod.
Photographers depend on drones to capture some good aerial shots of open water or beach. The scenarios we discussed so far are among the plethora of good reasons to fly drones over the water.
Whatever may be the reason you will have to take your drone over the water, you must understand the risks involved in this measure and must take the precautions to avoid all those risks for the safety of your flying companion.
Preparing your drone to fly over water
Fine, for some arising need, you want to fly your drone over the water, now the point you must be aware in the first place is that your drone is not water-resistant. Now, here are the ways to safeguard your machine from any possible risk or damage while flying it over the water.
To tell it in a nutshell, disable the VP|S of your drone before flying it over water. Plan your shot in advance and ensure that you have enabled the maximum flight distance of the device.
Practice well on how to avoid the obstacles and rehearse the takeoff and landing very well. It is very much necessary to set the drone’s home point to manual.
Most drones made for recreational purposes have a limited operational time. Therefore, they face the danger of falling or landing in the water.
When you need to fly your drone over the water, you must take all the precautions to ensure its safety. Now let us discuss the expert tips to safely fly your drone over water, one after the other in detail.
Disable the VPS setting
The first step to avoid the risks while flying your DJI drone over water is to disable the VPS (Vision Positioning System) by going to settings. This technology maps the surface that is right below the drone.
Though VPS is a very useful technology in general terms, the problem is when the drone flies over the water. The light reflecting off the water surface can make VPS less effective. In fact, it can also lead to automation errors.
While flying your drone over the water, it is a good idea to maintain not less than two meters of distance above the water surface. Nevertheless, if you want to capture a shot from a distance of below two meters, ensure to turn off the VPS so that you do not end up posing a challenge to the drone’s computer.
Enable the maximum fly distance
Apart from being a legal mandate, it is always recommended to fly your drone within the range of your eyesight. However, while trying to fly your drone far away and while taking shots from a large distance, it is good to enable the maximum flight distance, especially while using a DJI drone for your video or photography mission.
To enable this setting, you can take help of the DJI GO 4 app. You can activate this function by going to the settings found on the main controller and selecting the option ‘Enable Max Distance’. You must never input a distance that is beyond the capabilities of your drone controller.
Plan your shots or clips in advance
It is never the right approach to plan things when the drone is over the water. It is very important to plan your photo shots or video clips in advance before you start flying the machine over the water.
Also, you must have a clear idea of the best locations and the different angles of the photo or video shoot before you turn on the fly machine. This will help complete your task so efficiently before the drone’s battery drains out.
When it comes to flying your drone over water, the importance of a thorough practice can never be overemphasized. It is very essential that you plan the actual take-off and landing spots of your drone so that you avoid the risks of the drone landing on the water.
It is also equally important to learn how to avoid obstacles while flying your drone because when the drone flies over the water, it may confront birds in its path.
Set the drone’s home point manually
DJI drones usually have their home point set automatically when they take off. But, while trying to fly your drone over water, it is advised to set the home point manually. Especially, this is highly necessary when you fly your drone over the water when you are on a boat.
Since the boat’s location will keep changing, setting the home point manually can indicate the drone to land in the boat’s current location rather than trying to land in the original take-off point.
Consider the wind speed
Wind tends to move faster over the water surface as there is no obstacle on its way to slow it down. While flying your drone over the water, you must consider the wind speed as an important point to take note of.
This is necessary to stay in better control of your device while it is at flight. Stronger winds can steer your drone out of control and make it difficult to land it safely on dry land.
How to troubleshoot if your drone falls in the water
At times, something might go wrong and your drone might fall into the water. If this happens, here are the steps to troubleshoot.
- First, retrieve the device from the water and switch it off to prevent electricity from running through the different components of the device.
- Remove the drone’s battery.
- Open the drone’s top cover and use distilled water to flush any water that might have accumulated into the device. This will help prevent the water from corroding the components of the drone. When compared to seawater or freshwater, distilled water is less likely to have a corrosive effect on the drone’s components.
- To help it dry off, it is good to place the drone over dry rice.
- Keep the drone cover removed and wipe off any moisture you might find on the drone.
- Once you are sure that the drone is dry, turn the device on while still the top cover is removed. If you see some smoke, it will mean that some components have got shorted. If this is the case, you must at once take the drone to a repair center.
- On the other hand, if the drone turns on as usual without any bothering symptoms, switch off the device, put the top cover back on it and then try using it as you do usually. There are a good number of chances that your machine has escaped serious damage.
Best DJI drone models to fly over water
Here are the top 5 DJI drone models I will recommend if you want to find the best options to fly over the water.
- DJI Mavic Air 2S
This model has a light and portable construction. A great option to capture aerial shots over the water, this drone assures a longer battery life coming to your advantage. I would say this is an all-rounder among DJI drones.
- DJI Mini 2
This is the lightest member of all the DJI drone models and is an ideal option to fly over the water at short heights. This drone assures a good flight time and is a user-friendly model you will appreciate.
- DJI Mavic 2 Pro
One of the best points about this drone that makes it an excellent option to fly it over water is that it has the fewest openings through which water can get inside. This drone has a good battery life and proves great for a wide range of purposes. This intuitive drone model is also easy to fly.
- DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
This is one another DJI drone model with fewer openings in it for water to get inside. When you want to take good photographs, you can depend on the drone’s advanced zoom function. This drone has a comfortable 30 minutes fly time and comes with intuitive controls.
- DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0
Featuring a sturdy and durable body, this DJI drone model can withstand high winds. The video and photo quality of this drone is amazing and the device can last in the air for a comfortable amount of time good enough for a few good shots.
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.