Flying any drone over water presents some unique challenges, so we always advise using caution and common sense guidelines when flying near the water. Unlike solid ground, visual navigation is less reliable over water because of the constant changes in geometry and texture.

Although it's not waterproof, Skydio has the ability to safely fly over larger bodies of water and the Skydio app adds additional safeguards to keep the drone securely tethered to your phone.

Ensure you have a strong GPS signal

A strong GPS signal is essential when flying over water. Select the Connection Status icon to display connected drone status, signal strength, GPS quality, and satellite count. We recommend a satellite count of at least 20 when flying over water.  


[warning] Failure to acquire a GPS lock prior to flight over water may result in erratic flight and/or emergency landing. A minimum of 20 satellites is required when flying over water. See the related article: How does Skydio 2/2+ use GPS? [/warning]

Pay attention to your battery level

When flying over water, monitor your Skydio 2/2+ battery level. While the Skydio app will alert you when the drone is low on battery, it is always best to stay situationally aware while flying.

If your Skydio 2/2+ has to make an emergency landing, you don’t want to touch down in the middle of a lake! Read Understanding battery level messaging on Skydio 2/2+ for more information. 

Pay attention to changing flight conditions

Wind and moisture can, at a minimum, result in less than stable footage, and can often introduce dangerous flying conditions. Keep an eye out for any changes to the flight conditions which could damage your drone - check out Where can I fly my Skydio 2/2+? for more details and tips.

Use caution around still, reflective surfaces

Still, calm water is especially unsafe to fly over, as it can resemble a reflective, mirror-like surface that confuses the visual obstacle avoidance systems. We do not recommend flying Skydio 2/2+ at lower altitudes over still, reflective water.

Do not fly over bodies of water greater than 30 ft (9 m).

[caution text="Low relative-altitude flight over bodies of water may degrade or impair autonomous flight performance. Ensure that you have a strong GPS signal on your controlling device."]

Make sure you're not in motion when launching or landing

Always launch and land when you and your boat are not in motion. Hand launching is probably best if space is somewhat tight, like on the deck of a boat. If there isn’t enough room to safely land on the deck, hand landing is an option but requires extra caution and practice. Check out our related articles for more tips.

[caution]Case Landing is not recommended when on a boat.[/caution]

Use the Return to Home feature as needed

At any time during flight (either following a subject or flying manually), tapping the Return to Home icon within the Skydio app instantly directs Skydio to return to your phone’s last-known GPS location. See this article for more: How does Skydio 2/2+ use GPS?

Skydio, Inc. A0432

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