Latest Drone Laws in Florida

Florida has over 20,000 registered drones and numerous drone manufacturers and service providers. Thus, Florida is one of the ideal states for commercial drone operators and hobbyists.

However, many drone regulations and ordinances govern drone operations throughout the state, making navigating the latest drone laws in Florida a significant challenge for drone pilots and operators.

Florida has three law categories for drone flying: federal, state, and local. The state enters a legal contract with all drone operators to agree on the terms and conditions.

Florida drone laws promote responsible and safe operation within the state’s borders.

Our article outlines the current laws set by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and the FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation).

Which Are the Latest Drone Laws in Florida?

Drone usage in Florida is subject to three categories of laws as follows:

  • Federal drone laws
  • State drone laws
  • Local drone laws

Federal Drone Laws

The federal government sets the laws and apply to all states in the U.S. They include the following:

Drone Hobbyists

The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) is the primary requirement you must meet to fly a drone for fun/pleasure. Also, you must follow the FAA’s recreational model aircraft rules below:

  • Maintain your drone’s visual line of sight or use a visual observer co-located with the drone to communicate.

  • Have an up-to-date FAA registration; write the registration number on your drone’s outer side, and have proof during your flights.

  • Only fly up to the FAA-authorised altitudes in controlled airspace with prior FAA authorization.

  • Observe the safety guidelines of an FAA-recognized, Community-Based Organization (CBO).

  • Don’t endanger the national airspace system’s safety when operating your drone.

  • You must pay $5 for drone registration if your device is more than 0.55 lbs (250g).

  • Give way to other aircraft during flights and don’t interfere with them.

  • Don’t fly beyond 400 feet in uncontrolled airspace.

  • Always carry a TRUST proof when flying your drone.

  • Only fly your drone for personal enjoyment.

Commercial Drone Pilots

To obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate in Florida, follow the FAA’s Part 107 Small UAS Rule (Part 107) requirements for commercial (work or business purposes) drone flights.

Other Part 107 requirements include the following:

  • Pass the FAA’s Aeronautical Knowledge Test from one of the approximately 800 FAA-approved knowledge testing centers in the U.S.

  • Undertake recurrent aeronautical knowledge tests at 24-month intervals.

  • Take your drone to the FAA (upon request) for testing and inspection and provide the required records/documents.

  • Take the Transportation Security Administration check and get approved.

  • Unlike Finland that you have to be 18 years and above with Florida you have to be 16 years or above.

  • Report to the FAA any accident resulting in injury or damage exceeding $500 within 10 days.

  • Inspect the aircraft and control station systems to ensure safe operations.

Government Drone Pilots

The flights involve police and fire department missions. You must operate your drone under the FAA’s Part 107 rule or acquire a federal Certificate of Authorization (COA).

State Drone Laws

The laws apply to the entire state of Florida, and the Florida Legislature is responsible for creating them.

According to the Florida Legislature and Florida Department of Transportation, Florida has several state laws regarding drone use, including:

  • Fly your drone in a manner that doesn’t endanger people’s welfare, safety, or health, damage forest resources, or interfere with forest management objectives.

  • Stay off managed lands such as forests and state parks, except at the heliport and runway (with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ authorization).

  • Law enforcement can only use drones after obtaining a warrant, during search and rescue missions, or when there’s a terrorist threat.

  • Don’t capture images of private property or its occupant without consent if there is a reasonable privacy expectation.

  • Obtain a Special Use Authorization before taking off or landing on District lands.

  • Avoid operating your drone near or over critical infrastructure.

  • Never possess or use weaponized drones.

Note: All commercial drone pilots are subject to the FAA’s Part 107 rules.

Local Drone Laws

Some drone laws in Florida apply to specific regions, counties, or cities where respective authorities create them.

Town of Bonita Springs law:

A city rule prohibiting drone from flying over Bonita Spring Community parks, reservoirs, and littoral waters, except in certain designated areas.

The ordinance also illegalizes drone flights within 25 feet of people, buildings, power lines, or light fixtures.

City of Miami law:

The city ordinance restricts drone operations over and within a half-mile radius of large-venue events or sporting events.

Such venues include Miami Marine Stadium, Bayfront Park, Calle Ocho Festival, Marlins Ballpark, and other public facilities and parks during special events.

Also, the law prohibits drones from being equipped with any detachable cargo or weapon and establishes a city permit requirement for certain drone activities.

Town of Defuniak Springs law:

An ordinance in the city restricts drone flights over private or public properties without the owner’s permission.

It also requires commercial drone pilots to register with the town police department for any commercial flights within the city.

City of Orlando law:

The city drone regulation prohibits drone operations within 500 feet of schools, city parks, Camping World Stadium, Harry P. Leu Gardens, and Amway Center.

Additionally, the law restricts drones from flying within 500 feet of more than 100 people’s gatherings. A permit costs $150 annually or $20 per flight in such cases.

A $200 – $400 fine is chargeable upon violation of this ordinance.

Pinellas County law:

An ordinance prohibits drone takeoff or landing in or on county-managed or owned land except for public safety. Such flights require permission from the designee or administrator.

Lake County law:

A county law restricting drone takeoff or landing on county-owned lands in non-recreational areas or those with drone operation restrictions. You can only operate your device with prior permission from a designee or director.

The University of Tampa policy:

The campus policy prohibits drone flights within University property without prior authorization. A drone operation will only be legal for airspace directly over Plant Park.

Tampa Ordinance:

The law prohibits drone takeoff, launching, landing, descending, or ascending in or upon department-managed land.

You must obtain the department’s approved facility rental application or contractual authority.

Canaveral Port Authority (CPA) policy:

The policy restricts drone operations on CPA property without prior consent. You should request authorization from CPA Public Safety & Security 48 hours before the flight.

What Does the Drone Legal Contract in Florida Entail?

The drone legal contract in Florida governs drone usage in the state.

Parties involved:

  • State of Florida
  • Drone operators

Recitals:

  • The state of Florida regulates drone usage within its jurisdictions.
  • Drone operators include individuals or entities seeking to operate drones within the state.

Terms and conditions:

  • Drone operators must adhere to privacy laws and regulations, respecting individual and property owner rights.
  • Operators must obtain the required licenses and permits before starting their flights.
  • The state can impose additional guidelines and restrictions if necessary.
  • Drone operation in the state is subject to laws set by the FAA and FDOT.

Contract termination:

  • The contract remains effective until its termination by either of the parties in writing.

Signatures:

  • Each party signs the contract to become binding.

Can I Bring My Drone to Florida?

You can bring your drone to Florida for commercial and recreational purposes. Register your device upon arrival and follow the relevant guidelines during your flights.

Foreign drone manufacturers have been struck as the country has banned state and local agencies from using them for emergency services.

The ban was effected on April 5, 2023, but didn’t affect drone hobbyists and commercial fliers.

Approved drones in Florida include:

  • Vantage Robotics
  • Parrot
  • Skydio
  • Teal Drones
  • Altavian

Conclusion

The latest drone laws in Florida enhance safe drone operations within its borders and ensure your safety and that of other people. They focus on drone registration, flight restrictions, and respecting privacy rights.

Florida has well-structured drone operation policies at the federal, state, and local levels.

Our article compiles these guidelines to provide a one-stop source of the current drone laws of the land.

Now that you’re conversant with the ordinances, you can enjoy your flights without interfering with other people’s privacy or colliding with the regulating agencies.

FAQ

Yes, you need a license to operate a drone in Florida for commercial purposes. You must obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA.


Recreational drone flying requires no licensing, but you must follow the FAA’s safe flying guidelines.

No, you can’t take off or land in No Drone Zones even if you have airspace authorization.

The authorization isn’t land use approval. Hence, you can only fly over the permitted area but not take off or land your drone.

Yes, you can use your drone to conduct surveillance in Florida.


However, it’s illegal to record or capture images of individuals with a reasonable expectation of privacy without their permission.

Surveillance in the state is subject to federal and state laws.

Yes, you can fly drones at night in Florida. The FAA allows night drone operations if your drone has proper lighting.


Also, you must have the appropriate night drone operation training and certification.

Yes, there are specific rules for drones flying near wildlife and beaches in the state. The regulations protect wildlife and the environment.


Hence, you must check with your local authority and follow posted guidelines.



Author
Peter Karanja

Peter is a licensed drone pilot and drone fanatic. He owns a DJI Air 2S that he uses to shoot videos for fun, enjoyment and for clients.

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