Can I Fly Drone Over a Lake? A Handy Guide


Are you planning on flying a drone over a lake?

Before you take off, it’s important to know whether or not it’s legal to do so. The rules and regulations regarding drone flight can vary depending on the location, so it’s important to do your research beforehand.

In this article, I’ll answer the question: can you fly a drone over a lake?

In short, the answer is YES! You can fly drones over a lake, but there are some important considerations and regulations to keep in mind.

The laws around drone flight can be complex. So, I’ll also let you know about FAA regulations, security concerns, permissions needed, and penalties (if any) so that you’re fully informed.

Can I Fly Drone Over a Lake

FAA Regulations on Flying Drones Over a Lake

Even though it’s allowed to fly drones over a lake, here are some FAA regulations that you need to keep in mind:

  1. Ensure your drone is equipped with the right equipment for flying over lakes, including a waterproof or water-resistant design, and a floating landing kit if necessary.
  2. Maintain a safe altitude of at least 2 meters above the water’s surface to protect your drone from damages, water splashes, and to prevent bottom-facing sensors from mistaking water for hard surfaces.
  3. Follow all general FAA regulations for drone flying, including registering your drone, adhering to altitude and airspace restrictions, and avoiding flying near people or wildlife.
  4. Check for any additional local or state regulations regarding flying drones over lakes or other water bodies, as these may vary depending on the location.


Security Concerns

Flying a drone over a lake comes with its own set of unique security concerns, which are worth considering before launching your drone. Here are some potential security concerns to keep in mind.

Security Concerns for Flying Drones Over a Lake

  1. Privacy issues: Flying drones over a lake can potentially invade the privacy of individuals enjoying their time near or in the water by capturing images or videos without their consent.
  2. Wildlife disturbance: Drones can disturb the natural habitat of aquatic animals and birds residing near the lake, causing stress and potentially affecting their behavior or reproductive patterns.
  3. Signal interference: Lakes surrounded by trees or other obstacles may interfere with the drone’s GPS signal, causing it to lose its connection and possibly crash into the water or nearby areas.
  4. Water damage: Drones are susceptible to water damage, and any technical malfunction or operator error could result in a costly accident if the drone ends up in the lake.
  5. Regulatory restrictions: There might be specific regulations and rules prohibiting drone flights over lakes, especially if they are in protected areas or close to residential properties, and violating them could lead to fines or legal penalties.

Permissions and Permits

Flying a drone over a lake generally requires adherence to the same rules and regulations as flying over any other locations.

Permissions and permits may vary depending on the specific jurisdiction and local laws. In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires drone operators to follow guidelines such as registering the drone if it weighs more than 0.55 lbs, maintaining line of sight, and not flying over people or moving vehicles.

Additionally, if the lake is located within a national park or a wildlife reserve, specific permits may be needed to ensure the protection of wildlife and the environment. It is essential to research local rules and regulations for the specific area where you plan to fly your drone to ensure compliance.

Also check:


1. Can I Fly Drones Over a Lake if I am not a Licensed Drone Pilot?

Yes, you can fly a drone over a lake even if you are not a licensed drone pilot, as long as you adhere to the recreational drone rules set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States or similar regulatory guidelines in other countries. These rules typically include flying below a certain altitude, maintaining the drone within visual line-of-sight, and staying clear of other aircraft and wildlife. Additionally, make sure to check for any local regulations or restrictions related to flying drones over bodies of water, as these can vary by location.

2. Who can Authorize the Use of Drones Over a Lake?

The authorization to fly a drone over a lake depends on the jurisdiction and regulations in place. In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has the authority to regulate drone operations. Before flying a drone over a lake, ensure that you comply with the FAA’s rules, such as registering your drone, following airspace restrictions, and obtaining necessary permits if it falls under controlled airspace. Additionally, check for any state or local laws that may apply, as some parks and protected areas may prohibit drone flights.

3. Can the Police Fly Drones Over a Lake?

Yes, the police can fly a drone over a lake as long as they adhere to the regulations set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and local authorities. Law enforcement agencies often use drones for various purposes, such as search and rescue operations, surveillance, and gathering evidence. It is important that the police follow proper guidelines and acquire necessary permits to ensure the safety and privacy of individuals in the surrounding areas.


In conclusion, before flying a drone over a lake, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the appropriate resources and tools. Download the B4UFLY mobile app to easily find safe and legal flying locations.

Drone laws are subject to change, and information in this blog may become outdated; always consult official sources for the latest regulations.

And if you have a related query, kindly feel free to let me know in the comments.

Photo of author
Peter Karanja is a licensed drone pilot from Kenya, freelance writer and drone enthusiast. He has been using drones for land survey, GIS, and photography for the past three years. Being a drone user, he loves writing about drone applications, safety tips for using drones, and the best ways to get the most out of a drone.

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