Drone Laws in Florida

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the State of Florida

Federal Aviation Administration

FAA Drone Website: https://www.faa.gov/uas/

Florida State Laws Related to Drones

Updated January 10, 2023

UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Florida

Drone operation in the State of Florida is broadly governed by The Federal USA agency responsible for drone safety, the FAA. Click here for details on FAA USA Drone Laws.

In addition, the Florida legislature has enacted several supplemental rules specific to Florida drone operations. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details, go to the links above and search for unmanned aircraft.

Are drones allowed in Florida?

Drones are allowed in Florida for recreational and commercial use, subject to FAA regulations and flight controls put in place by local governments. Read on for details.

Specific additional drone laws by the Florida State legislature

Definitions:

Florida Statutes defines a drone as a “powered, aerial vehicle that:

  1. Does not carry a human operator;
  2. Uses aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift;
  3. Can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely;
  4. Can be expendable or recoverable; and
  5. Can carry a lethal or nonlethal payload.”

“​Unmanned aircraft system​” means a drone and its associated elements, including communication links and the components used to control the drone, which is required for the pilot in command to operate the drone safely and efficiently.

“​Critical infrastructure facility​” means any of the following, if completely enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier that is obviously designed to exclude intruders, or if clearly marked with a sign or signs which indicate that entry is forbidden and which are posted on the property in a manner reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders:

  1. An electrical power generation or transmission facility, substation, switching station, or electrical control center.
  2. A chemical or rubber manufacturing or storage facility.
  3. A mining facility.
  4. Natural gas or compressed gas compressor station, storage facility, or natural gas or compressed gas pipeline.
  5. A liquid natural gas or propane gas terminal or storage facility with a capacity of 4,000gallons or more.
  6. Any portion of an aboveground oil or gas pipeline.
  7. A wireless communications facility, including the tower, antenna, support structures, and all associated ground-based equipment.

330.4​ ​Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act

PROTECTION OF CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE FACILITIES.— (a) A person may not knowingly or willfully:

  1. Operate a drone over a critical infrastructure facility;
  2. Allow a drone to make contact with a critical infrastructure facility, including any person or object on the premises of or within the facility; or
  3. Allow a drone to come within a distance of a critical infrastructure facility that is close enough to interfere with the operations of or cause a disturbance to the facility.

934.50​ ​-​ ​Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act PROHIBITED USE OF DRONES

  1. A law enforcement agency may not use drones to gather evidence or other information.
  2. A person, a state agency, or a political subdivision as defined in s. ​11.45​ may not use a drone equipped with an imaging device to record an image of privately owned real property or of the owner, tenant, occupant, invitee, or licensee of such property with the intent to conduct surveillance on the individual or property captured in the image in violation of such person’s reasonable expectation of privacy without his or her written consent. For purposes of this section, a person is presumed to have a reasonable expectation of privacy on his or her privately owned real property if he or she is not observable by persons located at ground level in a place where they have a legal right to be, regardless of whether he or she is observable from the air with the use of a drone.

EXCEPTIONS.—This section does not prohibit the use of a drone:

  1. To counter a high risk of a terrorist attack by a specific individual or organization if the United States Secretary of Homeland Security determines that credible intelligence indicates that there is such a risk.
  2. If the law enforcement agency first obtains a search warrant signed by a judge authorizing the use of a drone.
  3. If the law enforcement agency possesses reasonable suspicion that, under particular circumstances, swift action is needed to prevent imminent danger to life or serious property damage, to forestall the imminent escape of a suspect or the destruction of evidence, or to achieve purposes including, but not limited to, facilitating the search for a missing person.
  4. By a person or an entity engaged in a business or profession licensed by the state, or by an agent, employee, or contractor thereof, if the drone is used only to perform reasonable tasks within the scope of practice or activities permitted under such person’s or entity’s license. However, this exception does not apply to a profession in which the licensee’s authorized scope of practice includes obtaining information about the identity, habits, conduct, movements, whereabouts, affiliations, associations, transactions, reputation, or character of any society, person, or group of persons.
  5. By an employee or a contractor of a property appraiser who uses a drone solely to assess property for ad valorem taxation.
  6. To capture images by or for electric, water, or natural gas utility:
  7. For aerial mapping, if the person or entity using a drone for this purpose is operating in compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
  8. To deliver cargo, if the person or entity using a drone for this purpose is operating in compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
  9. To capture images necessary for the safe operation or navigation of a drone that is being used for a purpose allowed under federal or Florida law.
  10. By a communications service provider or a contractor for a communications service provider for routing, siting, installation, maintenance, or inspection of facilities used to provide communications services.

Specific additional UAS drone laws by local governments within Florida State

Town of Bonita Springs | Municipal Law (2016)

Drone operations under this city ordinance are only allowed at Community Park when the park’s fields are unoccupied. Moreover, pilots must not fly drones within 25ft of people, places, or things, namely buildings, powerlines, and lighting fixtures.

Canaveral Port Authority | Unmanned Aerial Systems Policy

Drone pilots are prohibited from all UAV operations under this policy unless they have prior authorization. Users must request authorization 48 hours before the intended drone use to CPA Public Safety & Security. Applications are via the official online form (link above).

Town of DeFuniak Springs | Municipal Law (2016)

Drones are prohibited from flying over private or public property under this city ordinance without the property owner’s consent. The ordinance also states that all commercial pilots must register with the town’s police department before carrying out commercial drone operations.

Lake County | Code of Ordinances (2001)

The purpose of this county ordinance is to prohibit all drones from take-offs and landings on county-owned non-recreational or non-designated spaces and other restricted areas. The director or designee may grant prior permission on a case-by-case basis.

The city of Miami | Municipal Law (2016)

This 2016 city ordinance bans the use of drones from within a half-mile radius of stadiums, sporting facilities, and other large venues or events. Examples include Bayfront Park, Calle Ocho Festival, Marlins Ballpark, Miami Marine Stadium, and other parks or facilities that host special occasions. This ordinance also states that a city permit is required for particular drone activities.

City of Orlando | Municipal Law Sec. 37-12. (2016)

This law states that no drone shall fly within 500ft of city-owned buildings and other structures. That includes schools, parks, and venues. The 500ft flight restriction also applies to gatherings that exceed greater than or equal to 1000 persons. Some exceptions are available for permit holders, costing $20 per flight. Annual permits are also obtainable for $150.

UAV Operators in violation of this city ordinance face fines between $200–$400.

Pinellas County | Code of Ordinances (2018)

This county ordinance bans all drone operations from county-owned or county-managed lands. That includes take-offs and landings unless it’s to protect public safety. Exceptions may be available with prior written permission from the local administrator or designee.

The University of Tampa | UAV & Drone Policy (2015)

This policy aims to maintain a safe, nonthreatening campus environment. Thus, it restricts all drone operations over or within university-owned property and grounds without official authorization. The policy applies to pilots of commercial and recreational unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

UAS operation rules in Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Preserves

Florida Administrative Code 5I-4.003 // 2016

This state code prohibits drones on managed lands, including Florida state parks and forests, except at a runway or a heliport and only with authorization from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The authorization shall be based upon a determination that the takeoff or landing will not endanger the health, safety, or welfare of any person, potentially damage the forest resources, or interfere with the management objectives of that forest as provided in that forest’s management plan. Authorization from the Service is not required in an emergency or for Service official business.

Florida Administrative Code 40C-9.320 // 2004

This state code prohibits drones from taking off or landing on District lands unless authorized by a Special Use Authorization.

Specific additional laws in Jurisdictions within Florida

Many cities or towns within the state of Florida may have specific restrictions within their jurisdictions. We recommend checking the local jurisdiction for the latest regulations.


Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Florida

If you have a small drone that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly recreationally by following the Drone Laws in the USA defined by FAA Part 107 guidelines.

Recreational UAS operations (i.e., flying for recreational purposes) in Florida are approved under FAA law, specifically Part 107. Please check the specific state jurisdiction for additional permissions, licensing, or clearance requirements.

Following these rules will keep you and your drone safe and help keep the airspace available to everyone.

The law requires that all recreational flyers pass an aeronautical knowledge and safety test and provide proof of passage if asked by law enforcement or FAA personnel. The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) was developed to meet this requirement. 

TRUST provides education and testing on important safety and regulatory information. If you fly your drone recreationally under the Exception for Recreational Flyers, you must pass the test before you fly. 

Note: If your drone weighs more than .55 pounds (lbs), you must register your drone through the FAA‘s Drone Zone.

To fly your drone as a recreational flyer, it’s as easy as 1-2-3

  1. Understand recreational flying requirements
    • Note: Non-recreational drone flying include things like taking photos to help sell a property or service, roof inspections, or taking pictures of a high school football game for the school’s website. Goodwill can also be considered non-recreational. This would include things like volunteering to use your drone to survey coastlines on behalf of a non-profit organization. Remember, if you’re not sure which rules apply to your flight, fly under Part 107 (See below).
  2. Take TRUST
    • You may take the free online test through any of the FAA approved test administrators.
    • All FAA-approved TRUST test administrators offer the test free.
    • All test questions are correctable to 100% prior to issuing your completion certificate.
    • After completing TRUST, you’ll need to download, save or print your completion certificate.
    • If you lose your certificate, you will need to re-take TRUST.
    • View a list of TRUST Test Administrators
  3. Receive your certificate
    • After you pass the test, you will receive a certificate from the test administrator you selected.
    • Test administrators will not keep a record of your certificate. You must present a copy of your certificate if asked by law enforcement officers.

General Rules for Recreational Flyers

The Exception for Limited Recreational Operations of Unmanned Aircraft (USC 44809) is the law that describes how, when, and where you can fly drones for recreational purposes. Following these rules helps keep people, your drone and our airspace safe:

  1. Fly only for recreational purposes (personal enjoyment).
  2. Follow the safety guidelines of an FAA-recognized Community Based Organization (CBO).
    For more information on how to become an FAA-recognized CBO, read Advisory Circular 91-57C.
  3. Keep your drone within the visual line of sight or use a visual observer who is co-located (physically next to) and in direct communication with you.
  4. Give way to and do not interfere with other aircraft.
  5. Fly at or below FAA-authorized altitudes in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and surface Class E designated for an airport) only with prior FAA authorization by using LAANC or DroneZone.
  6. Fly at or below 400 feet in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace.
    Note: Flying drones in restricted airspace is not allowed. Drone pilots should always check for airspace restrictions prior to flight on our B4UFLY app or the UAS Facility Maps webpage.
  7. Take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) and carry proof of test passage when flying.
  8. Have a current FAA registrationmark (PDF) your drones on the outside with the registration number, and carry proof of registration with you when flying.
    Note: Beginning September 16, 2023, if your drone requires an FAA registration number it will be also required to broadcast Remote IDinformation.
  9. Do not operate your drone in a manner that endangers the safety of the national airspace system.

Recreational drone pilots should know that if they violate these safety requirements and/or operate their drone flight carelessly or recklessly, they could be liable for criminal and/or civil penalties.

It is recommended that recreational drone operators consult the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules and regulations on the proper use of recreational drones and use common sense when operating these devices around crowded public areas, wildlife, or historic resources.


Notes for operating Commercial Drone Services in Florida

If you have a small drone that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly it for work or business by following the Drone Laws in the USA defined by FAA Part 107 guidelines.

Commercial drone operations in Florida State are approved under the FAA Part 107. Please check the specific state jurisdiction for additional permissions, licensing, or clearance requirements.

There are three main steps drone owners must follow To fly under Part 107 rules:

The Operations Over People rule became effective on April 21, 2021. Drone pilots operating under Part 107 may fly at night, over people and moving vehicles without a waiver as long as they meet the requirements defined in the rule. Airspace authorizations are still required for night operations in controlled airspace under 400 feet.

If you have a small drone that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly for work or business by following the Part 107 guidelines. To fly under Part 107 rules, there are 3 main steps.

Step 1: Learn the Rules

Make sure you understand what is and is not allowed under Part 107 rules.

If you are not sure if Part 107 rules work for you and your intended operation check our user identification tool.

Some operations will require a waiver. Here are the regulations specified in §107.205 that are subject to waiver:

Learn more about Part 107 Waivers.

Drone operators should avoid flying near airports because it is difficult for manned aircraft to see and avoid a drone while flying. Remember that drone operators must avoid manned aircraft and are responsible for any safety hazard their drone creates in an airport environment.

Step 2: Become an FAA-Certified Drone Pilot by Passing the Knowledge Test

To be eligible to get your Remote Pilot Certificate, you must be:

  • At least 16 years old
  • Able to read, write, speak, and understand English
  • Be in a physical and mental condition to safely fly a UAS

Study for the Knowledge Test

Obtain an FAA Tracking Number (FTN)

Schedule an Appointment

Complete FAA Form 8710-13

Step 3: Register your Drone with the FAA

Registration costs $5 and is valid for 3 years. You’ll need a credit or debit card and the make and model of your drone handy in order to register. Learn more about registering your drone.

  • Create an account and register your drone at FAADroneZone. Select “Fly sUAS under Part 107.”
  • Once you’ve registered, mark your drone (PDF) with your registration number in case it gets lost or stolen.

Useful published information on flying drones in Florida

We have partnered with the FAA and other drone enthusiasts in supporting an internet educational campaign called Know Before You Fly. The tips, pointers, and resources apply to Florida Drone Users also. Please visit the site for additional information: Know Before You Fly

Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International – Mostly for commercial drone service providers and users.

Academy of Model Aeronautics – Mostly for hobbyists

NOTE: Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS), Small UAS, Remote Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), and drone are interchangeable terms unless specified. Model, toy, remote-controlled, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.


Traveling with a Drone?

Click here to read our Comprehensive Guide For Traveling With A Drone.



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IMPORTANT NOTE

The content on this site (The latest Drone Laws/Drone Regulations) is collated by volunteers from public general information. This material is not presented as legal advice of any kind, and we cannot guarantee that the information is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. Do not substitute the information you find here for legal advice from a licensed attorney who is authorized to practice in the jurisdiction. When in doubt, contact the local aviation authority responsible for drone safety, utilize a licensed drone service operator, and/or consult a qualified attorney.

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22 thoughts on “Drone Laws in Florida”

  1. Can you fly a drone at a county park that is smaller than 55 lbs for recreational use or are all drones in county parks illegal??

    Reply
    • Drones are prohibited without prior authorization in state parks. We are not sure if county parks are included in this legislation. You should check with the specific park management.

      Reply
  2. I have a drone that has flown over my private property while i was grilling and then another time when i was out by my pool. It hovers over me and follows me. What can I do about this. It is invading my privacy.

    Reply
  3. Is the State of Florida considering allowing drones to be flown on district lands other than state parks, such as some water management districts and wildlife management areas, where other vehicles such as airboats, motor boats, off road vehicles and dirt bikes are allowed to operate? Or are they already allowed assuming all FAA rules are followed? Most drones are less intrusive to the area and contained wildlife than some of these other vehicles. It would open up a wide range of areas for air photography.
    Thanks and regards,

    Reply
    • Prohibited on managed lands (see regulations above). You need to check how the specific area is governed and whether there is an approval required.

      Reply
  4. I want to have some drone video footage of seniors surfing on a Florida beach in Melbourne to inspire other elderly to get out and enjoy the beaches before they are unable. Can I use a personal drone like a Lilly with no license or would I need special FAA authorization? My understanding is that if it is not a large group and not a national park or protected airspace (like Playalinda or Port Canaveral), it should be okay. Just want to be sure to be compliant.

    Reply
    • If you are following the FAA and state rules – not in restricted space, not flying over people, not violating their privacy, and so on, you should be able to do so.

      If you are capturing video for commercial purpose, you may be required to follw the commercial drone use rules.

      Reply
  5. Is Miami Dade County, or any agency of the state of Florida, authorized to use drones to survey your property for building permit violation purposes? Are HOAs authorized to do so?

    Thank you…

    Reply
    • Fred, please see the section above: “934.50​ ​-​ ​Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act PROHIBITED USE OF DRONES”
      Note some activities are not prohibited.

      Reply
  6. I live in Pasco County almost every night after 10 pm We have a drone that flys very close to our home we live in a 55+ community this drone being flown does not belong to anyone here in our community. It is loud & unwanted.how do we stop this ?

    Reply
      • Good luck with calling law enforcement in Pasco county. They will send one or 2 deputies who will insist in s firm voice, “ma’am that’s a star”. Then shine a regular flashlight at the drone saying “see. If that was a drone it would have acknowledged”. Our tax dollars at work.

        Reply
  7. I have a drone that I fly recreationally and have completed UAS Safety test. I also volunteer & sit on our subdivision grounds committee and would like to use the drone for video inspection of the landscape common areas of the subdivision (trees, plantings, grasses, wetlands, overall health.. ). I can do preplanned flight plans to avoid filming any residences or personal property. So my questions are:
    1. Can this be done with my recreational license?
    2. Can this be done if I obtained a commercial license?
    3. I get personal requests to take aerial photos / videos (outside of the grounds committee) of the subdivision roads, grounds, and homes that would include capturing some homes (from a distance) that the owners may not know about. I would do this as a good neighbor and not for profit, am I allowed?

    Reply
  8. LAKEBRIDGE CIOMMUNITY ORMOND BEACH FVOLUSIA COUNTY FLORIDA HAS A DRONE THAT IS STAKING A FRIEND WHO IS SICK THE STRESS IS RIDICULOUS
    THERE IS MORE THAT ONE DRONE BEEN GOING ON FOR MONTHS
    BRING ATTENTION THEIR ARE MANY IN DAYTONA AS WELL

    Reply
  9. I’m glad to know that the state of Florida have rules and regulations in accord to the rules and regulations of the FAA. Also, for recreational flyers, there is a requirement to take the The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) and keep the evidence with him/her for Law Enforcement examination. This is a good hobby and I wish that the irresponsible people who violates the rules doesn’t make difficult for the people who are certify and follows the federal, state and local regulations.

    Reply
  10. For what reason would a very tiny suspicious drone be flying early am within inches of our Ring doorbell at front entry door of residence ? To who do I report this to?

    Reply
    • This sounds like the modern version of “ding d*ng ditch.”

      It’s uncouth, rude, and annoying, but “technically” not illegal (lot’s of asterisks here, but this is my guess given the small amount of info with your plight).

      Probably a kid’s prank, but if you are experiencing other harassment, then definitely contact the local police.

      Reply

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