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Best Drones for Boating, Kayaking, and Sailing

Are you into water sports, such as boating, kayaking, and sailing, and looking for a drone to document your activities? You’ve come to the right place.

Best Drones for Boating, Kayaking, and Sailing

From FPV to cinematics to drones you can use for fishing, there’s a drone out there for you; you just have to find the right one.

So, which are the best boating, kayaking, and sailing drones?

The best boating, kayaking, and sailing drones include the DJI Avata, DJI Mavic 3 Classic, SwellPro Splash Drone 4, PowerVision PowerEgg X, and the DJI Mini 3 Pro. These drones will suit you whether you want to create cinematic footage, shoot underwater, or even use a drone for fishing.

Keep reading to learn more about these drones and some tips on using drones for water sports.

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1. DJI Avata

DJI Avata

Pro-View Combo (DJI Goggles 2) + Fly More Kit - FPV Drone UAV Quadcopter with 4K Video, 2 More Batteries, and a Charging Hub for Up to 36-Min Flight Time, Super-Wide 155° FOV.

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✅ Pros

  • Excellent video quality
  • High speed
  • Stable transmission
  • Long flight time for an FPV drone

❌ Cons

  • It could be more expensive than building your own drone
  • Due to its weight, it may be subject to weather restrictions, such as strong winds

FPVs for sports or any other activity are quickly gaining popularity because FPV drones have a dynamic and fast-paced view you can’t get from a regular drone.

The shots also need the drone to get very close to the subject, fly in tight spaces, and perform a wide range of maneuvers, as you can see in this video of an FPV drone filming a kayaker and this video of an FPV drone filming surfers.

Most FPV pilots swear by building their drones, with control over the transmission, the goggles to use, speed, and additional third-party hardware such as action cameras.

However, it takes time and money to assemble the best FPV setup. That’s why I recommend the DJI Avata.

Avata is the newest FPV drone released by DJI, known for producing some of the best camera drones.

If you’re a beginner and don’t know much about FPV, Avata is one of the most stable systems you can start with and move up to the more complex systems.

Don’t get me wrong; Avata does have a learning curve, but it’s a perfect RTF FPV drone.

So what features does it have that make it great for boating, kayaking, and sailing?

Avata comes with OcuSync 3+, the latest transmission system in DJI’s consumer drones.

This transmission system ensures a stable video transmission at up to 6.2 miles, making possible shots like the one shared above.

Secondly, Avata has a built-in 1/1.7-inch CMOS camera with an f2.8 aperture and can shoot 48 MP still images and videos of up to 4K at 60 fps.

You can use this camera to create high-quality footage of your sailing, boating, or kayaking escapades.

If you have the budget and find that cameras like the GoPro or the DJI Action camera produce better footage, you can mount them on Avata.

Thirdly, Avata is beginner-friendly. The beginner modes allow the drone to hold its altitude, making it easier for a new pilot to understand the controls.

Once experienced enough, you can switch to Manual Mode and fly Avata like an FPV drone.

Lastly, Avata comes with an 18-minute flight time. With its stable transmission, you can fly further away from the controller without losing the signal or depleting the battery.

If you lose the signal, you can set the drone to automatically return home, which is quite effective.

What’s more, with a speed of up to 60 mph, you can rest assured this drone can keep up with the subject, especially in fast-paced environments.

» MORE: Best Budget Drones for Fishing

2. DJI Mavic 3 Classic

DJI Mavic 3 Classic w/built-in 5.5-inch HD display
$1,749.00

Includes:

  • Drone
  • DJI RC remote controller
  • Battery
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03/02/2024 09:26 am GMT

✅ Pros

  • High-quality footage
  • Advanced tracking system
  • 360-degree obstacle detection
  • Long flight time

❌ Cons

  • The learning curve for more complex maneuvers
  • It may be more expensive than other budget-friendly models

The DJI Mavic 3 Classic is perfect for creating high-quality footage of your boating, sailing, or kayaking activities without spending much money.

With a 4/3-nch Hasselblad camera, you can take footage in 5.1k at 50 fps and 4K at 120 fps.

You can also use the Mavic 3 Classic to create tracking footage thanks to the up-to-date ActiveTrack 5.0, 360-degree obstacle avoidance, and excellent camera.

ActiveTrack 5.0 is designed to detect various objects, including boats. It also has an additional feature that allows you to change the direction the drone should follow you from.

This works similarly to Skydio’s feature; the only difference is that you don’t have a beacon as an additional controlling device.

Sometimes drones with obstacle avoidance and tracking features have been known to move around a lot as they track the subject.

DJI has tried to fix this feature by adding a “Nifty” option in the obstacle avoidance settings, which helps minimize this movement, ensuring smoother video.

You can also use the Spotlight feature, where the drone is always focused on the subject, and all you have to do is execute any maneuvers you have in mind.

Another big plus for the Mavic 3 Classic is the 40-minute flight time, which gives you enough time to record all the necessary footage.

When it’s time to land, it’s possible to land it in your hand, especially if you’re taking off from the boat. Practice this on the ground first to get the hang of it.

Below is a video of the Mavic 3 Classic tracking a boat.

3. SwellPro Splash Drone 4

Swellpro SplashDrone 4 Fishing Drone 2KG Payload

RC Drones Dynamic Return to pilot, Fishing Drone Boat Mode Equipped with floating foams, Unrivalled-performance Propulsion System, 4k Drone Innovative Smooth+ Flight Control, All-new IP67 fishing drone seawater-proof

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✅ Pros

  • Waterproof
  • High payload capacity for adding other accessories
  • Offers a wide range of activities to do when sailing

❌ Cons

  • It’s bulky, heavy, and not easy to move around with
  • The whole setup of landing gear and accessories makes it a more expensive option

The SwellPro Splash Drone is a larger drone designed to help you take your boating and sailing escapades to the next level.

Whether you want to fish (yes, you can do that with a drone) or even take underwater shots, this drone is designed for that. Here’s why.

The SwellPro Splash Drone 4 comes in an IP67-rated casing, allowing it to get close to the water and submerge without damaging the internal parts.

This drone is quite heavy, so you can’t land it in your hand, but the waterproof build makes it possible to land it on the water, and it will still be fine.

Secondly, this drone has a 2 kg payload capacity.

If you love fishing and would like to see how it works with a drone, this payload capacity is enough for you to add a bait-dropping mechanism which you can get from the manufacturer, and even catch some small fish and transport them to the shore.

Before fishing, use the drone’s high-quality camera and sonar fish-finding technology.

This saves you time compared to finding the fish manually, and you can even use it for larger fishing projects where you scout for fish and then use traditional fishing methods.

With a three-mile range, you can scout for fish while on land or in a three-mile radius from your boat, minimizing how often you will have to use the boat.

And you will not have to worry about the batteries getting depleted since you get a 30-minute flight time, a long enough time for a drone its size.

One fascinating feature that sets it apart from the rest is the boat mode.

This mode allows you to add floats to the lower part, so the drone can cruise on water like a boat.

You can then explore the underwater sceneries, take photos, explore, or just have fun in the water.

Below is this drone’s boat mode in action.

» MORE: Best Beginner Drones with Follow Me

4. PowerVision PowerEgg X Waterproof Drone

PowerEgg X Wizard 4K/60FPS
$899.00

Multi-purpose waterproof drone for flying and landing in inclement weather & water sports photography.

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03/01/2024 03:11 pm GMT

✅ Pros

  • Waterproof casing makes it excellent for close-to-water activities
  • It’s versatile since it can also work as a handheld camera
  • Decent camera
  • Ability to add audio as you film
  • 4K footage

❌ Cons

  • The casing, landing gear, and other accessories are at an extra cost

This is another waterproof drone that you can consider. It’s cheaper than the SwellPro Splash Drone 4 and has some features that set it apart from the other drones on our list.

As I mentioned, it’s a waterproof drone, though the casing is optional. You can omit the waterproof casing if you don’t think you will use it very close to the water and want to save some cash.

However, for the best experience, I recommend getting the casing.

One of the unique features of the PowerEgg X is the ability to remove the propellers and use this drone as a handheld camera.

You can use it to film footage, maybe at the beach or as you head to the boat, then reattach the propellers and create aerial footage, then combine all the footage into a reel with some cool transitions.

Another great feature is the SyncVoice technology, which allows you to record and synchronize audio with the footage.

Adding audio corresponding to the footage is one of the best ways to spice up drone footage, and the PowerEg X drone allows you to do this as you film.

The camera is also decent, filming up to 4K at 60fps. Other features that can help spice up your footage as you film include AI track, slow motion, and timelapse.

Like with the SwellPro Splash Drone 4, you can attach landing gear to the PowerEgg X, allowing you to land this drone on the water since it may be difficult to land it in your hand due to its design and weight.

Below is an overview of the PowerEgg X.

5. DJI Mini 3 Pro

DJI Mini 3 Pro (DJI RC)
$909.00 $799.95

Lightweight and Foldable Camera Drone

  • 4K/60fps Video
  • 48MP Photo
  • 34-min Flight Time
  • Tri-Directional Obstacle Sensing, Integrated RC and screen
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03/02/2024 09:21 am GMT

✅ Pros

  • An affordable and portable option
  • Obstacle avoidance and tracking features for enhanced filming experience
  • Portrait mode
  • Decent footage quality for a mini drone

❌ Cons

  • Limited obstacle avoidance
  • The smaller sensor may not be ideal for low-light conditions
  • It’s too light and can’t handle strong winds

You will love the affordability and portability of the DJI Mini 3 Pro if you’re looking for a cheaper drone to document your escapades in the waters.

The Mini 3 Pro weighs just under 250 grams with a 34-minute battery, so you will not need to register it if you will be using it for fun.

The only exception is if you get the larger battery, which lasts at least 40 minutes. In such a case, registering the drone is worth it since you will get more flight time to get enough footage.

Regardless of the battery you choose, the drone will still be light enough to land in your hand when on the boat or kayak.

The foldable design also makes it easy to move around with since it practically fits on your palm when folded.

The Mini 3 Pro has obstacle avoidance and tracking features that will come in handy when filming your kayak, boat, or any other water activity.

However, it only detects obstacles in three directions, and you can only track a subject in Trace and Parallel modes.

Either way, you will get more than you bargained for a drone that costs less than $1,000.

The 1/1.3-inch sensor may be small and limited for low-light conditions, but it still produces surprisingly good footage in optimum lighting conditions.

For content creators who would like to share their footage directly to social media, you will love that this drone’s gimbal can switch from landscape to portrait mode at the click of a button.

You also get access to MasterShots, QuickShots, Hyperlapse, and Panorama, which can help you shoot and edit cinematic footage quickly.

Like most DJI drones, you will enjoy stable video transmission and signal strength thanks to the OcuSync 03 video transmission system.

Below are some boat videos captured with the Mini 3 Pro.

6. Drone Sky Hook

Release and Drop Professional Device for DJI Mavic 3
$199.00

Drone Fishing, Bait Release, Load Delivery, Search and Rescue and Fun – U.S. Patent - by DRONE SKY HOOK

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03/01/2024 11:06 pm GMT

✅ Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to attach to the drone
  • Allows for the dropping of a wide range of objects

❌ Cons

  • It’s not compatible with all drone models

This is not a drone but an accessory.

If you have the DJI Mavic 3, Phantom, or Mavic Air 2 series drones and would like to use them for more than just filming, you can get the Drone Sky Hook, which allows you to drop objects.

You can use it to drop baits, catch small fish, carry them to the shore, and do other fun activities.

In a search and rescue mission, you can drop items like phones or life jackets if the weight is within the drone’s payload capacity.

This device weighs only 50 grams, so it will not weigh down your drone, but you will need to find out your drone’s payload capacity before you can use it.

Below is the Sky Hook in action.

Tips for shooting drone footage from a boat or kayak

Below are some tips for using drones when boating, sailing, or kayaking.

  • Familiarize yourself with the regulations – Various regions have specific regulations regarding flying drones in marine environments. Ensure you familiarize yourself with these regulations so you don’t get into trouble. Besides the regulations, you should also practice safety when flying near marine animals to avoid startling or injuring them.
  • Do not set the home point when flying from the boat or kayak – This is because the drone will return to the last saved point in case of a lost connection, and you may have moved to another area by then. If you have to set the home point, set it to the controller’s location if you will have the controller with you.
  • Check the weather – Water bodies are sometimes characterized by strong winds or precipitation. Drones like the DJI Mini 3 Pro will have a tough time flying in such conditions, and even though a drone is advertised to handle strong winds, the battery may get depleted quickly, making it difficult to land.
  • Beware of interference – When flying over water, you may experience a lot of interference from other boats and structures. Do not trust what the manufacturer says. Test the drone and observe how far it can go based on where you fly.
  • Maintain privacy – You will meet other people engaging in boating, sailing, or kayaking activities. Do not film them if they do not want to be filmed, and observe local laws on privacy.
  • Choose the right drone – Determine what you must do when boating and choose a drone suited to that activity. Waterproof drones are useful if you fly close to the water’s surface.
  • You may need a spotter – When flying drones like FPV drones, you may need a spotter to help guide you when you can’t see the drone. This will minimize crashes.
  • Invest in safety equipment – Since your drone could crash, invest in safety equipment such as floating devices to prevent the drone from sinking and to help with retrieval.

For more tips on flying drones over water, check out our video on YouTube.

» MORE: Tips for Flying a Drone Over Water (Video)