Modern Drones are incredible machines that are with the capacity of doing amazing things in the marine and yachting environment. They may be used to identify schools of fish, find a mooring or open area in a marina to drop anchor, locate an assigned slip, preview an unspoiled beach or island, locate items or persons that dropped overboard, capture great video and still photos of the boat either at anchor or underway, and even drop safety or other equipment to remote locations.

However, Drones have to he handled differently when found in the terrestrial or land use environments, as well as specific models which are better fitted to the marina and yachting environments.

1: Types and Types of Drones

There are a number of issues that is highly recommended when selecting a Drone for this environment: DJI and Yuneec make a number of Drones capable of use in this environment. The Splash Drone is waterproof and makes an excellent Drone for this environment. GoPro and DJI have just introduced small new models that “fold” and easily fit into small backpacks and are with the capacity of flying for 20+ minutes in 20+ knots of wind!

A: Size – consider how and where you’ll store your Drone aboard your yacht – on a bunk, in a storage locker, in the cockpit. The Drone ought to be stored in a safe location where guests and crew won’t drop items on the Drone or knock or kick the Drone.

B: Flight Time – consider flight time and battery capability. Small Drones could have less then 10 minutes flight time while bigger Drones fly around 25 minutes. For casual videos, 10 minutes flight time may be enough, however if you plan to use the Drone to locate schools of fish or remote moorings, then consider investing in a Drone with longer flight times.

C: Camera- Many Drones come built with their own camera, while some are able to make use of external cameras such as a Gopro or DSLR. Included cameras range between low resolution with images stored on a memory card while others are capable of 4K resolution (broadcast quality) and relaying live images via WIFI to a good phone, tablet, or controller LCD screens. External cameras generally offer the owner more options and higher resolutions, but may not be fully integrated with the included controller system.

An example may be the Yuneec Typhoon G create to use the GoPro Hero3 or 4 4K cameras. This is a great set up with the capacity of unusually stable video in most windy conditions. However, as the operator can see what the camera sees on the Typhoon controller LCD screen, the controller struggles to control any of the features of the GoPro camera- and the operator must activate the video record button on the GoPro ahead of taking off and then can only shut off video recording after the Drone is retrieved. Integrated cameras usually could be controlled from the controller.

D: Ability to handle windy conditions – This is the significant issue that operators have to keep in mind when purchasing a Drone. Many of the small and older Drones, like an older Parrot AR Drone or perhaps a newer SYMA X5SW Drone lack many features , nor are capable to stabilize flight when faced with more then 5-10 knots of wind. Additionally, these Drones do not have stabilized gimbled camera mounts to smooth out the wobble and gyrations in windy conditions. Larger Drones and Drones with better electronic systems and gimbled camera mounts aboard have better high wind video capabilities.

E: Retrievable – many small Drones don’t have “home” capability and so are difficult to land in virtually any condition. drones Most new Drones have a highly developed “home” capability and so are able to land back again to their starting location automatically.

Most, or even all Drones today, utilize GPS. Other Drones work with a hand-held or wrist mounted device so the Drone can “home in” on the controller or other device location. Newer Drones incorporate a mix of Optical Recognition and the GPS location of the controller. The most recent DJI Drone includes a down-looking camera that takes a large number of photos as it takes off and compares the photos to the landing location. For me, this is fantastic technology if you are using the Drone from a moving yacht or boat!

Another feature that newer Drones incorporate is object collision technology that allows the Drone to “see” and avoid ships sides, radar arches, along with other structures that may interfere with the flight or landing.

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