If you plan a romantic or regular fun beach trip, bringing your drone along is tempting to improve the experience. However, can you fly a drone at the beach? Join us and find out!
The short of it
To be as to the point as possible: yes, it is possible to fly a drone at the beach. There are no laws strictly forbidding you from doing it. There are plenty of common-sense mistakes to avoid. For example, going into a mildly hazardous terrain for your device requires knowing drone travel tips to ensure you can avoid ruining it. But, overall, you should be able to snag some fantastic footage and photos. Of course, things are not always as clear-cut, and we’ll explain the details briefly.
Now, while the answer to ‘can you fly a drone at the beach is usually ‘yes,’ there are some privacy concerns. Let’s take, for example, having family fun in Miami, thanks to all the beautiful beaches here. Obviously, such an occasion is meant to be relaxing and an opportunity for the kids to run around while the adults de-stress. You can hardly enjoy your day at the beach in this manner if you constantly have drones flying overhead and potentially filming you or taking pictures. After all, most people would be given pause by having their photos taken by strangers, especially if they are in a swimsuit. So, if you insist on flying over beachgoers the entire time, you can quickly get yourself into trouble. The act of flying itself isn’t illegal. Infringing on others’ rights to privacy is. So, it’s wiser to fly over the ocean.
Of course, if you want to fly a drone at the beach, you must ensure you have all the required papers. Which, in most cases, means that you need to have FAA’s Remote Pilot Certificate. The certificate is not that difficult to get, though applying for it does come with a few requirements. Namely, you need to:
- Be sixteen or older
- Be capable of speaking, writing, and understanding English
- Prove you are in a physical and mental condition to pilot a drone safely
- Have successfully passed the “Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG)” aeronautical knowledge exam
So, hardly impossible but somewhat limiting for younger drone enthusiasts. Now, there are exceptions to this! If you own a drone that is under 0.55 lb. or 250 grams, you can fly it legally. Smaller drones are covered under the Exception for Recreational Flyers. In this instance, flying a drone is possible without registering it, albeit with strict flying limitations.
Safe drone handling
Now, just because you can fly a drone at the beach doesn’t mean you should do it carelessly or recklessly. In fact, flying a drone in such a densely populated area requires much more care, both for your own sake and the sake of those around you. A drone crashing and hurting someone would be disastrous, and you would be held fully responsible for causing the crash. Even if you are confident in your knowledge of what to do when you crash your drone and try to direct it into the water, the chances of hitting a random swimmer are non-negligible. So, avoid flying too low to the crowd. Try not to do ‘fun’ fly-byes over the water while skimming the waves, either. It is far too easy to overlook someone due to the waves or have your drone swept up by them. Always play it safe and smart.
Now, there are some situations in which you will be prevented from flying your drone at the beach. Namely, you should never attempt to fly your drone near a national seashore or park. Flying your drone through either of those is, in most cases, strictly illegal. Getting caught doing it would result in a deluge of fines and other unpleasant consequences of breaking the law. As the moving experts from statetostatemove.com like to point out, deciding to do something without proper planning, be it moving, or a fun trip to the beach is inadvisable. You will always be able to dig up information on whether you are banned from using a drone at a particular beach. Refusing to spend the requisite time to do so is just plain carelessness. And you do not want it to become a costly lesson on the necessity of caution!
Rules that must be followed
There are some general laws you must adhere to when flying a drone, no matter where you are. First, you want to stay at or under the four hundred feet altitude limit. Refusing to do so is endangering others with your carelessness, and the punishments are much more severe than flying a drone in a national park. Second, you must not fly your drone anywhere near a five-mile radius of an airport. Just like flying above four hundred feet, you can earn jail time on top of hefty fines if you break this law. Now, note that it is possible to apply for permission to fly in the area within the previously mentioned altitude limit if you follow the proper channels. Finally, if any buildings are nearby, never fly your drone near a residential area.
Defer to local laws
Of course, while you generally can fly a drone at the beach, there are yet more exceptions. Namely, while general law says you can, local laws might state otherwise. And local laws always trump more general ones, so breaking them and trying to claim you’d made a mistake due to your lack of knowledge will not get you out of punishment. There is a lot to learn about owning and using a drone, so you can’t just play the dummy card every time and hope for the best. It is up to you to research local laws and prepare for your outing properly!
So, at the end of the day, can you fly a drone at the beach? Yes, in most cases. However, you can also get in serious trouble with the law if you are careless and try to fly your drone on one of the beaches that forbid the practice.