Flying over water in James’ Bay, St Helena Island

Have you seen some of my photos on social media, or our website?  Most of my first photographs were of James’ Bay in St Helena.  That’s just example of where you can fly over water on St Helena Island.  We don’t have lakes or anything large inside of the island but we are surrounded by it.  Some of the best views from a boat or ship of the cliffs and flying a drone over water is a must if you want to capture those photographs.

But before you start flying over water, I have had a few close calls when it comes to flying over water, even lost a drone to the sea in James’ Bay.  But that’s for another day.

Here from our mistakes is our top things to ensure you have a safe flight over the salty seas around St Helena Island.

Flying over the ocean can be intimidating

Keep focused! 

This one is top priority and is why its the top of the list at number one.  Keeping focused and eyes on the UAV at all times and knowing its whereabouts is crucial.  If in the unfortunate event it does take a dive into the ocean depths, you will know where it went down.  But for safety reasons as well, keeping distance from ships, boats and also birds. So stay focused and do not allow anyone to talk to you.

VPS Off?  Check!

Why turn of the Visual positioning system?  Well it requires a solid or quite stable surface.  And water does not stay still at all.  If you are flying low to the water to get that awesome action shots, then turn off the VPS, if not you can leave it enabled.

Watch the waves

Now I don’t mean watch the waves and not your drone, it’s a good idea to have a friend if you’re flying as a hobby, to help you out and watch for rouge waves.  If commercially you should have a spotter/visual observer any ways.  The last thing you need happening is a wave smashing into your pride and joy and taking it down.

Give birds their space

Remember you are flying in the bird’s environment and territory.  Birds and most specifically the Fairy Terns will be inquisitive and come and check out the drone.  Don’t chase them off  with the drone or stay there.  Lower your altitude and move away from them.  Even if it ruins your shot.  You can always go back again.

Don’t take the wind lightly

The is just as unpredictable over water as it is over land.  The currents are blown from the water, and you can’t tell how winding it is over a 100 meters away over the water because you are on land, so keep a check on your speed etc.  As it will slow down if it is strong winds.

To sum up, have a good flight when flying on St Helena, and abide by the rules and regulations.  Always keep these top tips in your mind or print them off and keep on you when out around St Helena flying over the ocean.


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