Why would you want a drone for sailing?
There are plenty of great reasons for bringing a drone sailing with you. Whether you are looking to spend a lot on your drone or are looking for a more budget option, they all offer similar things. Here are the most common reasons someone might bring a drone with them:
Drones are far better at taking still images than high-quality videos, this is especially the case with the lower end drones. It doesn’t take long before even a complete novice will be able to take some pretty great photos. Being at sea offers plenty of great photo opportunities, it could be as simple as the sunset or as special as whales or dolphins breaching the surface of the water. The coastline provides so many opportunities that you simply couldn’t get any other way. Whether you do photography professionally or for fun, this is an opportunity you won’t want to miss.
Drones are very good at taking videos. The higher-end ones will be able to record in much higher FPS, but even the lower end ones will provide the chance to take some pretty cool videos. Whether you are recording the scenery or the boat itself, you will be able to take some unique and interesting videos. If you are planning to video you and your friends/family sailing you will be able to get some unique shots this way. The only alternative to using a drone for these shots would be hiring a helicopter. That may be outside most people’s budget.
Drones are not just for photography, they can also be great fun for racing. Some drones can move very quickly. Drone racing is an incredibly intense, and incredibly fun, sport that anyone can take part in. Drone racing is an actual sport with proper leagues you can enter, this may be a longshot for a complete novice but it could be an exciting goal to aim for.
Whether you are photographing yourself or videoing yourself, a drone is a perfect way to record these memories for years to come. With a drone, you can get amazing family photos that don’t require someone to be excluded whilst taking the picture.
What are you looking for in your drone?
There are so many drones on the market, yet some are better suited to life at sea than others. There are some features that you should look for in any drone you plan to buy. Different drones will excel in different areas, but they should all be somewhat decent in the following areas, otherwise, you risk running into avoidable problems.
Speed is something that may not matter to everyone. You might not be planning on racing your drone, but you will still want a decent speed output. Speed is important for two main reasons. First, higher speed drones can create more interesting and exciting videos. Secondly, and most importantly, if your drone isn’t able to keep up with your boat while you are sailing you are in trouble. You may end up losing your drone completely if your battery starts to run low and you cant get it back to the boat in time. Additionally, if you start to pull too far ahead of your drone you may lose signal with it and then you have essentially flushed hundreds of dollars down the drain.
The longer your battery life, the longer you can use your drone for; of course. If you are at sea finding your drone ran out of juice after just 5 minutes will be very disappointing for you. Depending on the model of your drone you could have anywhere between 15-60 minutes of power. Knowing your battery life and bringing your drone back well before it dies is important to avoid losing it. If your drone dies out at sea you arent likely going to ever see it again.
Stability is always important when considering which drone you would like to buy. This is even more important at sea. The high winds are going to be unforgiving for small drones with poor stability. If your drone isn’t sturdy enough you may find it getting blown away into the distance or knocked completely out of the sky. If it isn’t strong enough to withstand high winds, it isn’t strong enough to survive out at sea. Furthermore, some drones are fitted with self-stabilizing cameras in anticipation of windy conditions. If you don’t have one of these drones your videos and pictures are going to be very blurry.
Not all drones were created equal. Not all cameras were created equal. It is then safe to assume that not all drones cameras are created equal. You are going to get what you pay for here. The more expensive a drone is will typically be tied to the quality of the camera. The camera is one of the most expensive parts to manufacture and this influences price.
Price matters. It doesn’t just indicate how good a drone will be, it can completely price some drones out of the market for you. Your typical high-quality drone will be between $700-$3,000. Any less and you run the risk it won’t be sturdy enough to survive at sea, any more and you may be overpaying for what you realistically need. Unless you are a professional who needs a drone to earn a living, $3,000 for a drone is about the absolute max you need to be paying.
So without further ado, let's dive in to the 5 best drones for sailing:
The 5 best drones for sailing
Any of these drones would be great if used when sailing. They are all generally pretty stable, with decent battery life and a decent camera. You are, of course, going to get a better drone if you choose to purchase the most expensive on the list (DJI Mavic Pro) than the cheapest (Parrot Mambo). However, any of them would likely suit your needs. Whichever is best for you probably depends mostly on your budget. Here are 5 of the best drones for taking sailing with you.
1. DJI Mavic 2 Pro
This drone is one of the best currently available on the market. It may cost $1800 ($2,499 as a bundle) but you are certainly getting your money’s worth. This drone is fitted with a 20-megapixel camera with inbuilt stability technology to improve picture and video quality, even in the windiest settings. This is perfect for use when sailing. This drone is incredibly strong and even comes with 8gb inbuilt storage. It is SD card friendly meaning you can fit up to 128gb of further storage onboard your drone. The DJI Mavic 2 Pro has a flight time of 31 minutes and can reach speeds of 44mph in good conditions.
2. DJI Inspire 2
The DJI Inspire 2 is on the more expensive side, but with good reason. This drone is fitted with a 5.2k camera capable of capturing stunning images and videos. It may be on the high end of the price spectrum but you are certainly getting what you pay for. There are two different camera options available for this drone, one is slightly heavier than the other. This is why the flight time can vary between 23-27 minutes. Be sure to know the limits of your drone when choosing which camera you choose. The maximum speed is also tied to the camera. The lighter the camera, the faster the drone will be.
3. Parrot Anafi
The Parrot Anafi is far more affordable than some of the other drones on this list. Whilst it is still a great drone, you are getting be getting fewer features than its pricier counterparts. But, it is far more affordable for most people and is a great first drone. The Parrot Anafi is capable of filming in 4k and has a flight time of 25 minutes. This drone is great for taking pictures, its 21-megapixel camera and stabilizing technology will ensure high-quality images every time.
4. DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro (V2.0) is capable of filming 4k videos at 60 frames per second. It is fitted with a 20-megapixel camera and is perfect for the avid photographer. The drone’s sleek white look is very futuristic, it certainly looks like a $1700 drone. Its battery life is around 30 minutes, which is pretty average. It can reach speeds of 45 miles per hour in good conditions and is more than capable of withstanding the strong winds at sea. This drone is pretty good, if you are looking for a reliable, mid-priced, drone this is the one to go for.
5. Yuneec Typhoon H Plus
The Yuneec Typhoon is on the more expensive side. It too comes with a 4k capable camera that can shoot 16 megapixel still images. It too has a flight time of about 25 minutes and it too can go upwards of 40 miles per hour. But then why is it so expensive? Because it is very stable. If you are looking for the best drone for taking sailing this may be the one for you. It is a hexacopter (6 propellors) meaning it is capable of withstanding even the strongest of winds. Even in the worst conditions your videos will be well stabilized. If that’s important to you, the Yunnec Typhoon is second to none.
No matter which one of the above drones piques your interest the most, you will be getting a great quality drone. They may vary in price but they are all reliable drones. Taking a drone sailing with you can be so much fun; if you are on the fence about getting a drone to accompany you next time you go sailing, perhaps start off with the DJI Spark. If you are not new to the world of drones and are looking for the top of the line model, you can’t go wrong with the DJI Mavic Pro.
Hopefully, this article has helped give you an idea of what to look for when you choose your drone for sailing. Even if you don’t choose one from the above list, if you keep the, “What are you looking for in your drone?” section in mind you won’t go wrong.