I have had a few opportunities to fly my DJI Air 2s from a boat this summer. In this post, I thought I would share 10 quick tips for flying a drone from a boat. These are all things I picked up from my experiences.
1. Set your drone to “hover” if it loses connection with your remote.
By default, DJI drones will “return to home” when they lose connection. “Return to home” is problematic if flying from a moving boat. If the drone returns to the place it took off and the boat has moved, that means the drone will land in the water and it will be gone. To make this change you will need to go into the advanced safety settings. Also, remember to change back your return to home setting after you are done boating.
2. It is easier to take off from a boat than it is to land on a boat.
Make sure you have a plan for landing your drone before you take off.
3. Land when docked or anchored.
The more stationary the boat is, the easier it will be to land. Even if the boat is not in gear, it will likely be drifting in the water. I found it easier to hand catch the drone than to land it directly on the boat.
4. Turn off your collision avoidance sensors to land on the boat.
The sensors may cause problems and make it more difficult to land on the boat. They may keep you from hitting the boat. But they may also prevent the drone from getting close enough to the boat to land.
5. Consider landing on dry land.
One day when we went boating, the water was particularly rough. I was not going to attempt to land the drone on the boat. But when we were close enough to our docking point, I took off from the boat and was able to successfully land on the dock.
6. Don’t take the risk if you are not sure.
I can safely say that flying from a boat caused me more anxiety about losing my drone than anything else I have done. If the water is too rough or you are not confident enough to land it, then don’t do it. It is not worth losing your drone or injuring yourself or another person.
7. Don’t drone and drive.
Don’t try to drive the boat and the drone at the same time. This should be common sense. If you are driving a boat, all your concentration should be on driving the boat. If you are flying a drone, all your concentration should be on flying the drone.
8. Make use of active track modes.
It was a lot of fun to use the auto modes to track the boat and then watch the drone follow.
9. Get in close.
If are filming other people on boats, it is a little creepy to get in too close. But if you are filming yourself, get some close-ups.
10. The sun can be bright on the water and that can make it hard to see your screen.
If you lose track of your drone you will need to depend upon your screen to get it back. But if you can’t see your screen, that can be problematic. Use a sunshade and try to find a shaded part of the boat. I have also found that removing the case to your phone helps. As the phone gets hotter, the screen will dim. Removing your phone case will help the phone better dissipate the heat.
Use a polarizing filter when flying over water. Water is a highly reflective surface. The polarizer will help reduce the glare. I use the Freewell Polarizers for my Air 2s.