Flying your drone over water; Tips and advice to avoid losing it

I wanna get this out-of-the-way firstly, do not ever fly your drone over water if you want it to be 100% certain to not take a splash. Freak accidents and errors can occur with your drone at any moment (under warranty or not). A battery malfunction, prop slip or computer error whilst rare they do happen.

Flying a drone around and over water can give amazing footage from angles and areas unseen before, from the ocean to rivers and dams water can be amazing as seen from a drone. Here are some pointers on what I see as a good way to minimize the chance your drone goes splash.

Lauriston reservoir dam wall from above
Flying a drone over water

Remember the risk, unless the water is shallow and clear you’re gonna struggle to get it back. If it drops into water near a dam wall, outlet area or intake tower never attempt to get it back via swimming. Follow common sense around water and know your capabilities. Trying to snag it with a fishing line is your best option or one of these.

Fly on a half to full battery

Self explanatory, avoids getting caught short and gives the drone ability to have full power.

Fly on no to little wind

Water ways are notorious for being windy, if it’s an offshore wind don’t fly likewise if the wind speed is decent enough to make the drone constantly correct itself.

Triple check props and battery

Check the propellers are on right and tight. Check the battery is locked in and check the gimbal too if it’s a detachable variety.

Minimise hover and time over water

This one is hard and sometimes not possible but for every moment you’re out over water is a moment that something could go wrong. Spend at least time as possible in the danger zone of 20 metre deep water is always a good move.

No jerky movements

Have confident and solid joystick movement. Dont go against the drones momentum, take your time and know your future flight path.

Have height

Having a battery fail / prop blow at 100 metres up compared to 20 metres could depending on wind and drone momentum crash your drone on land or closer to land which wouldn’t have happened at 20 metres. Your drone will almost certainly be destroyed still though. Flying at height also gives you more time to react and is away from obstacles.

Watch for birds

Accidental, curious or aggressive birds are a thing. If you have a bird that finds “interest” in your drone its best to land ASAP but also if the curious stage turns to dive bombing throttle up. Drones can climb way quicker than descending and predator birds will be more likely to attack something fleeing.


Following these tips will make your drone experience over the water a pleasant one, remember to have fun and to take amazing snaps and footage!