Fishing with a drone in Australia – what you need to know to avoid the fines!
Coming Drone Registration, accreditation and licensing in Australia
In Australia drone rules and regulations are overseen by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority or CASA for short.
Drones are fun to use and more and more people are flying them, but they can also be hazardous to other people, animals and other aircraft and as such CASA will soon be making it mandatory for all operators to either be accredited or licensed, and all drones will need to be registered depending on the drones weight and type of use. When using your drone for fishing it is important to understand the rules and limitations to ensure your compliance and avoid some nasty fines. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Australia has a lot of information regarding these changes and everyone who presently flies a drone or is looking to should visit https://www.casa.gov.au/drones and prepare for these changes.
It is also very important to understand the current Drone safety rules in Australia to ensure you are operating your drone safely, legally and do not unknowingly break the law resulting in a very large fine. Did you know that you could be fined up to AUS $10,500.00 for breaking the drone safety rules or should you fly in restricted airspace. In NSW for an example if you fly your drone within 300m of a marine mammal like a whale or dolphin you could be fined as much as $110,000!!
Drone fishing could be a lot more expensive if you do not understand the Australian drone safety rules.
Listed below are the current (CASA) Drone Safety Rules – Do yourself a favour, read and understand them – it may save you a lot of trouble and money.
Fishing Drone Safety rules
To protect yourself and other people’s safety when you fly, you must follow the drone safety rules – officially known as the ‘standard operating conditions’.
Drones and model aircraft are classified by size and type categories.
Additional flight permissions are available to remote pilot licence (RePL) and remotely piloted aircraft operator’s certificate (ReOC) holders.
The dos and don’ts of flying
- only fly one drone at a time
fly your drone within visual line-of-sight — this means:
- flying only during the day
- avoid flying in cloud, fog or heavy rain
- you can see your drone with your own eyes at all times — not by using binoculars or watching a video screen
- not flying behind trees, buildings or anything else that stops you seeing your drone at all times.
You must not fly your drone:
- higher than 120 m (400 ft) above ground level — that’s about the height of a 35-storey building or length of a football field
- closer than 30 m to people — other than those helping to fly or navigate your drone
- over or above people at any time or height
- in a way that creates a hazard to another person, aircraft or property
- near emergency situations
- in prohibited or restricted airspace (use a CASA-verified drone safety app to help you)
- closer than 5.5 km to a controlled aerodrome or airfield (usually those with a control tower), if your drone weighs more than 100 g.
You may operate your drone within 5.5 km of a non-controlled aerodrome or helicopter landing site only if:
- there are no manned aircraft (one or more people inside) flying to or from the aerodrome
- you land as soon as safely possible if you see any manned aircraft flying to or from the aerodrome
- you stay outside the airfield boundary*
- you do not operate in approach or departure paths*.
*some model aircraft associations may have approval for their members to fly in these areas. You can learn more by visiting Model Aeronautical Association of Australia or Australian Miniature Aerosports Society.
Flying for Fun – Safety rules video
Excluded category safety rules video
Flying in public spaces
To make sure you’re flying safely while capturing footage, it’s important you consider the environment around you – before you take off.
Events and crowds
Although it’s tempting to score some great footage of the fireworks, footy grand final or that famous rock star concert – flying near crowds and organised public events is not allowed.
You can’t fly over people at any time – no matter how high you fly above them.
You must not fly where, if your drone should fail and fall, it could harm people or property.
Officials often police events to ensure public safety, and breaking the rules could land you in trouble. Choose wisely and leave your drone at home – live in the moment and enjoy these events live.
We all share the same skies.
At any time, there could be birds, aeroplanes, helicopters, hot air balloons, and drones all sharing the same airspace.
Air traffic controllers work hard to keep track of all flying aircraft. They monitor aircraft movements to help prevent collisions or accidents. Unless you are licenced or have permission to do so, the drone safety rules state that you must not fly:
- too close to airports or aerodromes
- higher than 120 m (400 ft) above ground level – that’s about the height of a 35-storey building or length of a football field.
Iconic buildings and structures – such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge – are often located within restricted airspace, making them no-fly areas.
You can easily find out where you’re safe to fly by using a CASA-verified drone safety app. (Add link)
Did you know there over 600 national parks in Australia, covering over 28 million hectares of land? That’s about 10 times the size of Tasmania.
Although our stunning landscapes provide beautiful scenic photography opportunities, many states and territories have banned using drones in national parkland.
Before you fly, you must check the local state or territory laws about flying in national parks.
So before taking off, check your local laws and make sure you’re doing the right thing.