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Old 12-29-2017, 11:25 AM   #1
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Drones!

Starting to think about planning for Alaska this summer and the idea of taking a drone to get photos of the boat and surroundings came up. Anyone here use one off their boat? I have never flown one but it looks like the DJI Mavic Pro is a good option and someone sells a water landing kit so it doesnít sink if you crash.
Especially curious about launching and recovery since I have masts/rigging.

Also Iím happy to hear (and ignore) peopleís rants about how irritating drones are

AC
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Old 12-29-2017, 11:46 AM   #2
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I also am pondering the same purchase for this years cruise North.
My son in law has a DJI Mavik and it's pretty sweet. Easy to handle and land.
Now I'll put on my flack jacket.

Bill
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Old 12-29-2017, 11:55 AM   #3
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Also Iím happy to hear (and ignore) peopleís rants about how irritating drones are

AC
I like drones; they're great for target practice. Need to dig out the old sling shot.

Ted
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Old 12-29-2017, 12:12 PM   #4
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I have a DJI Phantom III that I pretty much only use on the boat. I use my bow to take off just by setting the phantom on the bow. I bring it back in by catching it by hand by grabbing the landing gear. I have flown it while underway as well as at anchor, not too difficult
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Old 12-29-2017, 12:17 PM   #5
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I have a DJI Phantom III that I pretty much only use on the boat. I use my bow to take off just by setting the phantom on the bow. I bring it back in by catching it by hand by grabbing the landing gear. I have flown it while underway as well as at anchor, not too difficult
Same here. My Phantom 3 Standard was only $399 several years ago and I've taken it to Alaska and back twice, with probably 100 flights each summer.

Last winter we put together an article/presentation about flying drones from boats. Some of the laws may have changed since then, they're constantly evolving. Flying Drones from Boats – Slowboat

The biggies: don't hit rigging, know how to cancel return to home before the drone lands where the boat was, and make sure the boat is stopped (or you account for the motion) before launching/retrieving. Even a few knots of speed can make things difficult.

The drone has been a ton of fun and allows a whole new angle for photos/videos.

It's not that hard to avoid altercations with drone skeptics, either. If I'm sharing an anchorage and want to fly, a quick visit in the dinghy and the promise of aerial photos of their boat quickly alleviates any concerns.
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Old 12-29-2017, 12:27 PM   #6
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We have both a mavic pro and a phantom 3. I would recommend both of them depending on your needs and budget.
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Old 12-29-2017, 12:27 PM   #7
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It seems like a fun idea but you would have to know the laws everywhere you use it and that would be federal, state and local laws.

You also have to understand that many folks view drones as an invasion of their privacy and there is a chance of your drone being shot down by one of these people.

I wouldn't mind having one but it seems like an expensive toy.
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Old 12-29-2017, 12:33 PM   #8
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It seems like a fun idea but you would have to know the laws everywhere you use it and that would be federal, state and local laws.

You also have to understand that many folks view drones as an invasion of their privacy and there is a chance of your drone being shot down by one of these people.

I wouldn't mind having one but it seems like an expensive toy.
In populated areas this is a problem, but through much of the Inside Passage (especially north of Vancouver Island) the OP will be all alone. Each person must decide if they're comfortable potentially breaking some laws when there's nobody around to enforce them...
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Old 12-29-2017, 12:35 PM   #9
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I have been using the Mavic Pro the past year, and it has been a lot of fun. The majority of flying is over the ocean while sitting on the beach. I also fly it off the boat fairly often. Be careful if you hand catch, those blades can cut deep so getting a cut offshore is always a concern where I can't get stitches. I therefore land it on the boat. A few dicey landings on the boat so far, and my drone has used 7 of his 9 lives. The larger Phantoms are able to be hand caught easier so I may buy one eventually. Everyone I know with a drone is trying to find a place to get away from people. IE, ocean and wilderness shots.
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Old 12-29-2017, 12:59 PM   #10
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Some buds and I have used a drone out offshore while fishing. The guy who owns the boat and drones is made of money and he did not blink at all when he splashed the first two. Last trip I was along and we set up one dude (experienced, not boat owner this time) on the controls and another dude (me) as launcher and catcher. It worked well but a little dicey being on the slick bow of a sportfish with it pretty bouncy out.

I don't know the controls that well, but i think retrieving from a moving boat would require expert level control to do single handed.

Really neat machines. I'll end up getting one in the future.
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Old 12-29-2017, 01:10 PM   #11
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We were in "No Name Bay" in Tracey arm and a boat in the anchorage flew his drone over us as we partied on the bow. I was great and fun to watch. Later that evening he brought over a memory stick with the drone over us.
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Old 12-29-2017, 01:31 PM   #12
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I like drones; they're great for target practice. Need to dig out the old sling shot.

Ted
Shotgun would be my choice. Don't mess around.
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Old 12-29-2017, 01:42 PM   #13
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I have a Phantom 3 Advanced and fly it off the boat.

Here are some examples.





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Old 12-29-2017, 02:46 PM   #14
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My Drone is equipped with air to surface missiles, and it fires back.

OP - Check out the Mavic Pilots forum. They have sub categories for the Mavic, Phantom, etc. I spent quite a bit of time on there the first few months I had it and learned a lot. They cover topics involving software upgrades, batteries, camera skills, etc. There is the usual assortment of web characters you get with any forum, but overall it is a very good site.
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Old 12-29-2017, 03:45 PM   #15
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I've never owned a drone but do like the idea.

There have been many comments made about the noise and intrusiveness of them in quiet anchorages but I'd never experienced one at anchor until last summer.

There was one flitting all around Grace Harbour (Desolation Sound) and it was so unobtrusive I really wouldn't have known it was there except that it caught my eye as it flew by.

No idea what make/brand it was other than it was white.

Happy to share the anchorage with drones if they are all like that one.
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Old 12-29-2017, 04:08 PM   #16
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Arthur,
The Mavic Pro is a great drone to for what you are thinking of.
We flew one last summer on our various trips around the San Juans last summer and it worked great. We hand launch and recover off the stern, no big deal. Taking off from dirt and decks gets prop wash debris on the lens cover, one of the reasons we hand launch and recover.

It has a lot of automation and features that make using it easy and safe. It is very rugged. We hauled one in a dry bag on a dirt bike for almost 2000 miles of 2-track forest and wagon roads in MT, ID and WY and it worked perfectly.

Here is a simple "circle the boat" video, that is a basic command function. It recognizes the subject (boat) and flies at constant speed, altitude and radius around the subject all by itself.

It is an amazing way to see the world from a different perspective.



And another from our terrestrial travels
https://youtu.be/6bf0ashVCDQ

An easy summary of rules, regs and the no-fly map is here...
http://www.quadcopteracademy.com/faa-drone-regulations/
FAA rules on this stuff here, I can't say who rules in BC, but that shouldn't be hard to ascertain.
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Old 12-29-2017, 06:00 PM   #17
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Great! Mavic Pro it is!
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Old 12-29-2017, 06:00 PM   #18
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Any eagles in the chosen cruising region?
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Old 12-29-2017, 07:23 PM   #19
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slowboat.com has a good presentation on the use of drones from boats. Look in the "Mastering the Inside Passage" section.
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Old 12-29-2017, 09:38 PM   #20
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Any eagles in the chosen cruising region?
That can happen, they are territorial. But it is rare.
We encountered a falcon in Montana last summer that dive bombed the drone but didn't take it out. An eagle would be a different ending.

SOP for me is end the mission and come back to home base. The defense is to go max vertical when they approach, as the bird can't do that as fast as the drone.

I have seen no issues with Ospreys and similar hawks.
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