Drone laws in Rhode Island have become increasingly complex as federal, state, and local authorities strive to balance safety, privacy, and innovation. Commercial and hobbyist drone operators in Rhode Island must understand the legal landscape governing their aerial activities.
Can You Fly a Drone in Rhode Island?
Yes, you can fly a drone in Rhode Island, but it is important to comply with the applicable regulations and guidelines set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), as well as state and local authorities.
- Can You Fly a Drone in Rhode Island?
- Federal Drone Laws in Rhode Island
- State Drone Laws in Rhode Island
- Local Drone Laws in Rhode Island
- Penalties for Violating Drone Laws in Rhode Island
- FAQ for Drone Laws in Rhode Island
Federal Drone Laws in Rhode Island
Drone pilots in Rhode Island must adhere to the FAA’s federal rules. These regulations include Part 107 rules for commercial drone pilots and recreational drone registration requirements for hobbyist operators.
Commercial Drone Use
If you intend to use a drone for commercial purposes in Rhode Island, you must obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA. This certification ensures that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to operate a drone safely and responsibly.
Recreational Drone Flying
For recreational drone flying in Rhode Island, you need to register your drone with the FAA. Then, you must pass The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) to demonstrate your knowledge of safety guidelines. Furthermore, you must follow all of the safety guidelines provided by Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) for drone operation, including flying under 400 feet and avoiding restricted areas such as airports and prisons.
Government Employee Drone Operation
All government employees in Rhode Island, including fire department personnel and police officers, must adhere to the FAA’s Part 107 rule or obtain a federal Certificate of Authorization (COA) to operate drones for official purposes.
Please note that drone regulations can change over time, and it is important to stay updated with the latest guidelines and laws. This article provides general information and should not replace legal counsel or official sources of information.
State Drone Laws in Rhode Island
In addition to federal drone laws, Rhode Island has state-wide drone laws every operator must follow. As outlined by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation and the Rhode Island General Assembly, the two state laws for drones are:
- HB 7511 // 2016 states that the state of Rhode Island has exclusive regulatory power for UAS. It restricts local governments from creating their own drone laws.
- Title 250—Park and Management Area Rules and Regulations // 2019
- Bans drone use in Rhode Island state parks without a permit.
- Prohibits drone operators from using their UAS to disturb state park visitors or wildlife.
Local Drone Laws in Rhode Island
Despite the state law above, there are still local drone laws in Rhode Island. These rules apply to specific regions, cities, or counties in the state.
The only local drone law in Rhode Island is Town of Narragansett—Municipal Ordinance // 2016, which prohibits UAS in any airspace within 500 feet of the Town Beach during large events, and beach season. It also prohibits drone use over public parks and public events during special events.
Penalties for Violating Drone Laws in Rhode Island
Breaking drone laws in Rhode Island could lead to legal problems and serious penalties. The type and extent of the penalty depends on the particular violation. Penalties may include fines, jail time, equipment confiscation, and more.
FAQ for Drone Laws in Rhode Island
Can I fly a drone in a state park in Rhode Island?
No, you cannot fly a drone in a Rhode Island state park without a special permit.
Are there any no-fly zones in Rhode Island?
Yes, there are certain areas in Rhode Island designated as no-fly zones. Airports, correctional facilities, and state parks are no-fly zones in Rhode Island.
Do I need insurance to fly a drone in Rhode Island?
No, you do not need insurance to fly a drone in Rhode Island. Even so, it’s highly recommended to have liability insurance coverage to protect yourself and others in the event of an accident or property damage caused by your drone.
Where is the best place to fly a drone in Rhode Island?
Block Island is a stunning offshore location to fly a drone in Rhode Island. You can only get there by ferry or boat ride.