Before you head out with your drone to explore what the state of Florida has in store for you, you have to be aware of the drone laws in Florida or else you risk getting into trouble with the law.
Are drones allowed in Florida?
It is legal to fly drones in the state of Florida. It has federal, state, and local laws that govern the flying of drones in the state. However, you need to register your drone if it weighs more than 249 grams and flies above 500 feet over private property as a recreational or commercial flier.
In this article, I will cover everything you need to know about Florida drone laws for you to enjoy a pleasurable flight with your drone and stay clear of any legal proceedings.
- Federal Drone Laws In Florida
- Federal Drone Laws for Recreational Flying in Florida
- Federal Drone Laws For Commercial Drone flying in Florida
- Federal Drone Laws for Public Drone Flying In Florida
- Federal Restrictions & Requirements
- Emergency Situations
- State Drone Laws In Florida
- Local Drone Laws In Florida
- Frequently Asked Questions On Florida Drone Laws
- Final Thoughts
Federal Drone Laws In Florida
The federal drone laws in the United States are the laws that apply to Florida and every state in the United States of America and were created by the federal government.
If you have a small drone that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly recreationally by following the Drone Laws in the USA as defined by FAA Part 107 guidelines.
Federal Drone Laws for Recreational Flying in Florida
You can fly your drone for recreational purposes in Florida as a hobby without seeking monetary compensation as long as you follow the FAA law (Part 107) and also check the state jurisdiction for additional licensing, permission, and clearance requirements.
Below are the federal rules to follow while flying your drone for recreational purposes in Florida to keep you, your drone, and everyone else safe in the airspace.
- Fly your drone only for recreational use or as a hobby.
- Follow the safety guidelines of an FAA-recognized Community Based Organization (CBO). Recreational flyers should follow the safety guidelines of existing aeromodelling organizations or use the FAA-provided safety guidelines per Advisory Circular 91-57B.
- Keep your drone within your visual line of sight or use a co-located visual observer (physically next to) and in direct communication with you.
- Don’t fly close or interfere with a manned aircraft.
- Fly below 400 feet in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and E) after obtaining permission from LAANC or FAA Drone Zone.
- Fly below 400 feet in uncontrolled airspace (Class G). Note: You can also be prohibited from flying in a Class G airspace in areas designated as prohibited areas, restricted areas, military operated areas, alert areas, etc. except with prior authorization from the FAA.
- Take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) and carry proof of test passage.
- Always slap your registration number on the exterior surface of your drones and always carry the proof of registration with you. As a recreational flier, you are exempted from registering and marking your drones by the FAA as long as your drone weighs less than 0.55 lbs (250 grams).
- Do not dangerously operate your drone. For example:
- Do not interfere with emergency response or law enforcement activities.
- Do not fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Avoid flying near or over critical infrastructure.
You should be aware that you could be liable for civil and/or criminal penalties if you intentionally break any of these rules and regulations listed above as a recreational drone pilot.
As a recreational drone pilot, you are obliged to learn the rules and regulations put in place by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the proper use of drones for recreational flying.
You should also apply common sense when operating your drone in crowded public places, historic resources, and public places to keep everyone safe.
Federal Drone Laws For Commercial Drone flying in Florida
You can fly your drone for commercial purposes in Florida with the aim of seeking monetary compensation as long as you follow the FAA law (Part 107) and also check the state jurisdiction for additional licensing, permission, and clearance requirements.
Below are the federal rules to follow while flying your drone for recreational purposes in Florida to keep you, your drone, and everyone else safe in the airspace.
Step 1: Learn the Rules
- Read and understand the dos and don’ts as a commercial flyer the under Part 107 rules. Review a summary of the Part 107 rules (PDF). Still unsure if Part 107 rules work for you and your intended UAS operation? Check the FAA user identification tool.
- You can obtain a waiver to exceed some limit put in place by the FAA that is not covered by Part 107. Below are some laws in Part 107 that are subject to a waiver.
- Operation from a moving vehicle or aircraft. *
- Always operate your drone during the day. *
- Keep your drone from out of the Visual line of sight from an aircraft operation *
- Keep your drone in your Visual line of sight. *
- Operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft systems. *
- Yielding the right of way. *
- Don’t fly your drone over people. *
- Restriction from certain airspace. *
- Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft.
- *The FAA will not waive this section to allow the carriage of property of another by aircraft for compensation or hire.
- You should read about the Part 107 Waiver application process if your drone operation requires a waiver.
- Commercial drone operators should steer clear of flying close to airports as it might be challenging for human aircraft to spot and avoid a drone in flight. Keep in mind that the UAV operator is accountable for any safety threat their drone poses in an airport area and must avoid crewed aircraft. Read more about flying near airports.
Step 2: Become an FAA-Certified Drone Pilot by Passing the Knowledge Test
- To be eligible to get your Drone License (Remote Pilot Certificate), you must be:
- At least 16 years old
- Able to read, write, speak, and understand English
- Be in a physical and mental condition to safely fly a UAS
- Review the entire process to get your Drone License or Remote Pilot Certificate.
- Study for the Knowledge Test by reviewing the Test Prep materials provided by the FAA.
- Obtain an FAA Tracking Number (FTN) by creating an Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) profile before registering for a knowledge test.
- Schedule an appointment to take the Knowledge Test at an FAA-approved Knowledge Testing Center.
- Once you’ve passed your test, complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application) using the electronic FAA Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application system (IACRA)*
- You are now eligible to operate as a commercial drone pilot.
Step 3: Register your drone with the FAA
- Pay the registration fee of $5 with your credit card or debit card to get a valid three year license to commercially fly drones.
- Visit dronezone.faa.gov and select “Fly UAS under Part 107” to create an account and register your drone.
- After that, mark the exterior surface of your drone (PDF) with your registration number for identification and tracking if it were to get stolen
Always be sure to fly your drone safely and within FAA guidelines and regulations. It is up to you as a drone pilot to know the rules of the sky and where it is safe to fly. You should try the user identification tool if you aren’t sure if Part 107 is right for you and your operation
Federal Drone Laws for Public Drone Flying In Florida
Federal public laws are drone laws for federal, state, local, or tribal government entities, including schools and universities that use unmanned aircraft systems or drone technology for their operations.
Federal Restrictions & Requirements
- Be a political subdivision of the United States government, a State or U.S. territory government, the District of Columbia, or an Indian Tribal Government listed in the Robert T Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. § 5122)
- Own and operate the unmanned aircraft, or for non-federal public aircraft operators (PAO’s) have an exclusive lease on it for more than 90 days
- Fly missions that meet the statutory criteria of a governmental function on a flight-by-flight basis
- Not fly for a commercial purpose or receive compensation for flight operations.
First responders and other organizations responding to natural disasters or other emergency situations may be eligible for expedited approval through our Special Governmental Interest (SGI) process. Operations that may be considered include:
- Search and Rescue
- Law Enforcement
- Utility or Other Critical Infrastructure Restoration
- Incident Awareness and Analysis
- Damage Assessments Supporting Disaster Recovery Related Insurance Claims
- Media Coverage Providing Crucial Information to the Public
To apply for a waiver through the SGI process, you must be an existing Part 107 Remote Pilot with a current certificate OR you must have an existing Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA). To submit a waiver through this process, fill out the Emergency Operation Request Form and send it to the FAA’s System Operations Support Center (SOSC) at [email protected] .
If approved, the FAA will add an amendment to your existing COA or Remote Pilot Certificate that authorizes you to fly under certain conditions for the specified operation. If denied, operators should not fly outside the provisions of their existing COA or part 107. Operators have the option to amend their requests.
* This process is called the Special Government Interest (SGI) amendment process and is outlined in FAA Order JO 7200.23A
State Drone Laws In Florida
Florida state drone laws are drone laws that apply to the entire state of Florida and were created by the Florida Legislature.
Florida has four state-wide laws governing the use of drones in the state, as put together by the Florida Department of Transportation and the Florida Legislature.
House Bill 659
The House Bill 659 exempts the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or the Florida Forest Service from the drone laws prohibiting government official from operating drones in managing or eradicating invasive plants or animals on public lands, as well as suppressing wildfire threats.
Senate Bill 766
Senate Bill 766 states that a person, state agency, or political subdivision may not use a drone to capture an image of privately owned real property or of the owner, tenant, occupant, or invitee with the intent to conduct surveillance without written consent if a reasonable expectation of privacy exists.
Florida Administrative Code 5I-4.003
This law prohibits the launching or landing of any aircraft on state-managed lands (including parks and forests) except at runways or helispots and with permission from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Such permission is granted only if the operations do not interfere with forest management. Emergency situations and official business are exempted from these restrictions.
Florida Administrative Code 40 C-9.320
This law prohibits the launching or landing of any aircraft on District Lands unless the pilots are granted permission by a Special Use Authorization.
Florida Statutes 934.50 Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act PROHIBITED USE OF DRONES
- A law enforcement agency may not use drones to gather evidence or other information.
- A person, a state agency, or a political subdivision as defined in s. 11.45 may not use a drone equipped with an imaging device to record an image of privately owned real property or of the owner, tenant, occupant, invitee, or licensee of such property with the intent to conduct surveillance on the individual or property captured in the image in violation of such person’s reasonable expectation of privacy without his or her written consent.
For purposes of this section, a person is presumed to have a reasonable expectation of privacy on his or her privately owned real property if he or she is not observable by A person located at ground level in a place where they have a legal right to be, regardless of whether he or she is observable from the air with the use of a drone.
Exceptions from this law are granted to law enforcement agencies for the purpose of stopping or preventing a terrorist attack by an individual or an organization, conducting searches after a warrant has been issued by a judge, searching for a missing person, preventing destruction of evidence and escape of criminals, and also, but not limited to, protecting lives and properties from danger.
Florida Statutes 330.41 Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act
According to Florida Statutes 330.41, a person may not knowingly or willfully:
- Operate a drone over a critical infrastructure facility;
- Allow a drone to make contact with a critical infrastructure facility, including any person or object on the premises of or within the facility; or
- Allow a drone to come within a distance of a critical infrastructure facility that is close enough to interfere with the operations of or cause a disturbance to the facility.
Critical facilities as defined by this law include—but are not limited to—power plants, hospitals, military installations, water treatment plants, oil and gas facilities, and courthouses, etc.
Local Drone Laws In Florida
Florida local drone laws are the drone laws that apply only to certain regions, cities, or counties within the state of Florida and were created by various authorities within the state.
Bonita Springs Drone Laws
- Aerial devices may not be launched or landed inside or upon any park, preserve, or coastal seas, with the exception of helicopters used for medical evacuation, police enforcement, or official government aviation.
- With a specific event permission, drone photography during an event may be permitted. Any commercial drone usage on any city grounds requires the approval of the parks and recreation director through a formal concessionaire agreement.
· Unless there is a concessionaire agreement, only Community Park is permitted for recreational drone use. Drones are prohibited from flying within 25 feet of people, buildings, power lines, or lighting fixtures.
Canaveral Port Authority Drone Laws
- Unless the CPA Public Safety and Security has given permission, no individual may operate or assist in operating any vehicle or aircraft on any CPA property.
- Drone and other unmanned aerial vehicles are prohibited from operating within 24 hours of any scheduled launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Kennedy Space Center
DeFuniak Springs Drone Laws
- Drones are prohibited from flying between 0 to 500 feet over private property without the authorization of the property owner – The use of a drone over public property within City limits is unlawful unless authorized by a Special Use Permit from the City Council.
· Anyone planning to utilize drones for commercial use within the city limits must register with the DeFuniak Springs Police Department (DFSP) and provide a list of all the different kinds and numbers of UAVs they want to deploy. The DFSP and the Assistant City Manager (DFS-ACM) must be notified four hours before any commercial drone usage, together with all necessary details regarding the activities.
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary includes all of the Florida Keys’ islands (NMS). The FAA’s suggested best operating practice is to fly over all NMS, wildlife refuges, and other noise-sensitive areas at a height of at least 2000 feet. Which in reality, is much higher than what is permitted for drone flight.
Lake County Drone Laws
Drones and other aerial and motorized systems are prohibited on public lands or lands operated and maintained by Lake County except granted permission by a Special Use Permit
Miami Drone Laws
- Drones and other Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are prohibited from flying in airspace within a half-mile radius of sporting and/or large venue special events. Examples include public parks and facilities, Bayfront Park, Marlins Ballpark, Miami Marine Stadium, and the Calle Ocho Festival.
- Drones cannot weigh more than five pounds in any other area of the city (including any attachments). They cannot have any releasable payload or detachable cargo.
- Only AMA members who are registered may fly drones weighing more than five pounds, and they must abide by all AMA regulations.
· Certain drone operations need an application, which the relevant city officials will review and authorize if deemed appropriate.
Orlando Drone Laws
Drones are prohibited from flying, launching, or landing, within 500 feet of any venue, outdoor public assembly, or event with more than 100 people; within 500 feet of a park except with the permission of the Director of Families, Parks, and Recreation; within 500 feet of any pre-school, elementary, middle, or high school; within 500 feet of any enclosed building owned or operated by the City.
- The list of venues as covered by this law include the Amway Center, Camping World Stadium, Harry P. Leu Gardens, Mennello Museum of American Art, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, and any other building or structure officially designated by the Executive Director of Orlando Venues or the City Council
Pinellas County Drone Laws
Drones are prohibited from flying, launching, or landing prohibited within county-owned or managed land except for purposes of public safety or if authorization has been granted by the administrator
University of Tampa
All drone operations (both commercial and recreational) are prohibited over university-owned property and grounds unless an official authorization has been granted by the university authorities.
Frequently Asked Questions On Florida Drone Laws
Is it illegal to fly a drone over private property in Florida?
It is legal to fly drones above a house or private property as long as you fly above 500 feet and don’t use your drone to capture or record them without permission from the property owner.
Can I fly a drone in Florida without a license?
Recreational drone pilots don’t need a license to fly a drone in Florida, but you must pass a free online safety test (TRUST). However, commercial drone flyers must get a certificate (Part 107) from the FAA. Furthermore, all drones weighing more than 249 grams must be registered to operate in Florida.
Where can you legally fly a drone in Florida?
UAS operation rules in parks, recreation, and cultural preserves. This state code prohibits drones on managed lands, including Florida state parks and forests, except at a runway or a heliport and only with authorization from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Can You Fly a Drone on the Beach in Florida?
You can fly a drone on the beaches of Florida because the FAA does not have rules regarding drone flight at the beach, provided that it’s not a national park or restricted by local ordinances. However, you must still abide by the FAA rules if you’re flying for either recreational or commercial purposes.
Can you shoot down a drone in Florida?
Shooting down a drone in Florida is illegal and against federal law because drones are protected by the FAA. You could serve some jail time or pay a large fine if you shoot down a drone in Florida. You are advised to report it to the authorities if you see a drone hovering above you or your property.
Florida is known for its beautiful landscapes to explore with your drone for recreational or commercial purposes. However, you need to abide by the drone laws set by the FAA, your state government, and local authorities in that city to enjoy a hassle-free flight.
You should also check out the best places to fly a drone in Florida if you want to see beautiful places that are legal to fly in various cities.