Can I Fly My DJI Drone Over Water?
Everything You Need To Prepare Before Flying DJI Drones Over Water
For most drone pilots, flying over water is a terrifying prospect. Boats, waves, high winds, and even birds are common hazards in water environments. Despite the fact that DJI does not recommend flying over water, experienced aerial photographers and videographers will sometimes be forced to do so. Some people even use a drone to fish!
Practice, Practice, Practice!
In the drone industry, we all know that practice makes perfect. However, when flying near, around or over water, it is of paramount importance that you can confidently take-off, fly, and land again – as you may have to do it very suddenly.
When flying over water, you have two choices: take off from land or take off from a boat. A normal land flight is similar to taking off from the ground. However, if you're starting from a boat, taking off when the boat is still docked will be more secure and safe. Whilst it is possible to take off from a moving boat at low speeds it is definitely not advised!
Whilst it’s easy to say that you ‘know what your doing’ when it comes to flying, for the safety of your drone and those around you, it's important you are a competent and capable flyer.
No, we don’t mean your mum telling you what type of jeans to buy – we mean avoiding large trees by lakes, big waves at sea and anything at all that could interrupt your signal.
When flying a drone, a strong compass and GPS signal are vital. Be sure to stay away from any entities or structures that might clash with your signal. Any device that uses antennas, magnets, or Wi-Fi can cause problems. Also, remember to be aware of waves and boats on the water and how weather conditions affect this - if you notice any potential hazards wait for a safer time to fly.
Staying alert and aware of your surroundings is the most important part of flying, and when flying over water, this is exemplified when flying near over water. You can never be too careful.
Check Your Settings
When optimising your DJI drone for flying over water, there are three key settings you need to change:
✅ Disable Vision Positioning System (VPS)
✅ Update Your Home Point
✅ Enable Maximum Flight Distance (MFD)
By disabling the VPS, you are turning off an aspect of the drone’s technology that maps the surface below the drone. This is because reflections from the water can cause issues with the technology. Updating your home point will ensure that your drone will return to exactly where you intend, even if your boat drifts away from where you launched. By activating the MFD you can ensure you do not stretch the capabilities of your drone and help ensure you do not loose sight of the drone.
What’s The Best DJI Drone For Flying Over Water?
Whilst we’ve discovered that DJI drones can be flown over water (as long as it is safe and appropriate to do so), which out of DJI’s drones is best suited to flying over water?
All of them!
The current range of DJI drones are all fully equipped to fly over water. As a pilot you just need to understand and negotiate the difficulties and potential problems of flying over water. Remember: flying over water is risky, and even a split second of carelessness can result in a drone being damaged or lost. Always be aware of your surroundings as a pilot and concentrate on safely operating your drone.