To ensure safe, compliant drone operation, hobbyist and commercial drone pilots must clearly grasp drone laws in Washington. This article will unravel Washington state’s drone laws, encompassing commercial and recreational usage.
Can You Fly a Drone in Washington?
Yes, you can fly a drone in Washington. However, ensure compliance with state-wide regulations, federal laws, and local ordinances for safe and legal drone operation in the Evergreen State.
- Can You Fly a Drone in Washington?
- Federal Drone Laws in Washington
- State Drone Laws in Washington
- Local Drone Laws in Washington
- Penalties for Violating Drone Laws in Washington
- FAQs About Drone Laws in Washington
Federal Drone Laws in Washington
Drone pilots in Washington must follow federal regulations set by the FAA, including Part 107 rules for agency pilots and recreational drone registration requirements.
A unique federal drone law to consider in Washington is the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. This extends along the northern coast of Washington, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration oversees it. You may not fly a drone over this area.
Commercial Drone Use
Learn the regulations and requirements for flying drones for profit and business purposes:
Recreational Drone Flying
Explore the guidelines and safety measures for flying drones for leisure and personal enjoyment.
- Pass The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST)
- Follow CBO safety guidelines for drone operation, including flying under 400 feet
- Do not fly in restricted areas, including near airports or prisons
Government Employee Drone Operation
Note: This content is accurate until it was last updated, and drone regulations in Washington can change over time. This is not meant to take the place of legal counsel.
State Drone Laws in Washington
State drone laws apply to the entire state. Much like other states, Washington has state drone laws created by the Washington State Legislature. The state drone laws include:
- Commercial Drone Registration in Washington All commercial drone operators using a drone for hiring or advertising must register their drone with Washington’s Aviation Division.
- Flying Drones in State Parks—WAC 352-32-130 Drone operators need written permission from the director to fly a drone in a Washington state park. The director can outline any specific restrictions, and the operator must bring written permission to the operation. Learn more about applying for a Remote Controlled Aircraft Permit.
Local Drone Laws in Washington
Local drone laws apply to specific counties, cities, or regions in a state. Washington has several local drone laws to note including:
- Kitsap County—Launch Notification // 2019: Pilots must submit a “Launch Notification” form to fly near a Navy base.
- Olympia/Thurston County—WAC 200-250-030 // 2016: Drone operators may not operate a drone on waters or lands in the state capitol campus.
- Bellevue Parks & Rec—Acceptable Drone Flying Sites // 2018: Drones are not allowed in Bellevue parks, aside from 60 Acres Park and Marymoor Park Airfield.
- Snohomish County Parks & Rec—Park Code 22.16.080 // 1998: Drones are not permitted at Snohomish County Parks, aside from designated areas.
- City of Seattle—Municipal Law // 2017: UAS including drones are not allowed in Seattle parks.
- City of Seattle Film Permit Requirement // 2017: To film city-owned property with a drone, drone operators must obtain a permit.
- Pierce County—Municipal Law // 2013: Outlines restrictions for government agency drone use.
Penalties for Violating Drone Laws in Washington
Common penalties for drone law violations in Washington may include:
- Fines: Fines for drone-related offenses can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the violation.
- Criminal Charges: Some serious violations may result in criminal charges, leading to potential imprisonment or probation.
- Confiscation of Equipment: Authorities may seize and retain the drone if it was used for illegal activities.
- Revocation of Licenses: Commercial drone pilots may have their Remote Pilot Certificate revoked if found in violation of FAA regulations.
- Civil Liability: Violators may face civil lawsuits for damages caused by their drone operations.
FAQs About Drone Laws in Washington
Do you need a license for a drone in WA?
Recreational drone operators do not need a license, but commercial drone operation requires registering the drone with the Aviation Division.
Where can you fly drones in Washington?
There are many scenic and legal places to fly a drone in Washington including:
Luther Burbank Park
Marlow Anderson RC Field
Marymoor RC Club
Sixty Acres Park
Can you fly a drone in a Washington state park?
You can only fly a drone in a Washington State Park with prior approval from the park director.
Can I fly a drone along the northern coast of Washington?
No, you cannot fly a drone along the northern coast of the state of Washington as it is part of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.