Flying over water, considerations?

I am taking a day long boat trip up Long Island sound on a friend’s boat and I’d like to get aerial shots of the boat as well the coast. Other than launching and landing on a stationary boat, are there any other considerations unique to flying over water to ensure your UAS does not become one with the deep!

Here are some things you should do:

  • Use fully charged batteries and ensure you have enough battery power to make it back to the boat. The drone will start auto landing at its current location if it’s not able to make it back before the battery reaches the critically low level.

  • The wind is often stronger over open water, so make sure you plan ahead if you know the drone will be flying into the wind on the way back to the boat. That’ll require more battery power than usual.

  • Don’t fly close to the surface of the water unless you can clearly see the drone with your eyes. It’s often hard to judge how close the water is when only watching the live camera view in DJI GO.

  • Expect the drone to move around more than usual if you’re hovering near the surface of the water, the water is moving, and the downward sensors are close enough to detect the surface. This is generally not a problem when the drone is not hovering in place.

  • If you’re planning on moving the boat after taking off, set the remote controller signal lost setting to “Hover” in DJI GO. If the remote controller signal is lost, that’ll allow you to move the boat to that location instead of watching the drone return to the home point and land in the water (the default remote controller signal lost action).

  • You’ll need to manually reset the home point in DJI GO each time you move the boat (if you want the boat to always be the home point). If you don’t reset the home point, the drone will fly back to the takeoff location and land in the water if it needs to auto return home for some reason.


Thanks for taking the time to write. All good recommendations