Use of Drones

Any use of drones at and over NCSC leased property should be formally sanctioned by the Sailing Committee in writing to the named proposed operator of the drone.

Use of drones will only be permitted after the requirements listed below have been complied with.

Drone use requirements:

  • The proposed operator must complete a risk assessment for the specific event or occasion, this risk assessment must be in line with current NCSC best practice and endorsed by the Sailing Committee.
  • The person flying the drone should be a licenced pilot to fly the specific drone. They should have documentation to show this.
  • Insurance to fly the drone – with evidence.
  • Appropriate permission to launch the drone from the water – written evidence from the NCSC Sailing Committee.
  • Controlled air space not violated. Drones are flying objects and therefore have to abide by the Civil Aviation Authority guidelines and Air Traffic Control. The pilot should be aware of any exclusion zones or limits that may require additional permission. Specific reference to Swinderby airfield airspace must be taken.
  • Storage of the batteries. The batteries are LiPo batteries. They are highly flammable and categorised as dangerous goods. If there are drones on site, the batteries need to be stored appropriately and those responsible for health and safety need to be aware of them.

Discussion:

Drones give sailors a truly unique perspective of action on the water. Footage can be used for promotion of sailing clubs and specific events. Yacht and dinghy crews have used drone footage when training to help them get the leading edge on the competition, so they can fully observe and understand their crew and rig set up.

So yes, drones are fun, and can add value in a number of ways, but this is not without real safety issues that need to be taken into consideration. There are a few facts which everyone should know before one is flown at a sailing club or an event and in order keep drones flying within the law there are some guidelines.

Anyone can go into a shop, buy a drone and fly it as long as the drone is not flown directly overhead, it is not within 50m of anyone else and there is no commercial gain now or in the future from the footage taken. In reality at a sailing event it is hard to get any meaningful footage without breaking any of this legislation. Commercial gain is not just a question of direct charging for any footage. Filming a club race may seem like fun at the weekend, however things change from the moment the video is watched and shared on and offline. The reality is that the video is ultimately promoting a club, the classes sailed and the sport of sailing which may result in an increase in participation. This means there is a commercial gain, whether it be monetary or not.

James Logan, Sailing Secretary, April 2015

(Paper produced with reference to article appearing online – Yachts and Yachting website – based on a presentation from LPB Aerial Imagery, a current leader in the use of drones with sailing activities)

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