Drone Laws in New Jersey

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the State of New Jersey

Federal Aviation Administration

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

NJ State Assembly – Regulates and prohibits certain operations of drones.


UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in NJ

Drone operation in New Jersey 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 New Jersey State legislature has enacted several supplemental rules specific to NJ drone operations. The highlights are enumerated below.

Are drones allowed in NJ State?

Drones are allowed in NJ State 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 use laws by New Jersey State legislature

Senate Bill SB 3370 (2017)

  • Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) operations are permitted consistent with federal law.
  • UAS owners or operators of critical infrastructure may apply to the FAA to prohibit or restrict the operation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) near their critical infrastructure.
  • Operating a UAV in a way that endangers the life or property of another is a disorderly person offense.
  • It is a crime if you “knowingly or intentionally creates or maintains a condition which endangers the safety or security of a correctional facility by operating an unmanned aircraft system on the premises of or in close proximity to that facility.”
  • It is a crime to operate a UAV that interferes with a first responder.
  • Operating a UAS under the influence of drugs or with a BAC of .08 percent is a disorderly person offense.
  • Keeps local governments from regulating UAS in any way that is inconsistent with the NJ State and federal law.

Specific additional NJ Drone laws (by local governments within New Jersey)

East Bay Regional Parks | Municipal Ordinance (2016)

This ordinance prohibits unmanned aircraft systems (UAV) from flying closer than 500ft above any of East Bay’s District parklands, as stated by Federal Regulations.

Borough of Franklin Lakes | Municipal Ordinance (2016)

Prohibits all drones from flying below 400ft in the Borough for the following situations:

  • Private property (unless permitted by the owner)
  • All streets, including side streets and alleys
  • All borough buildings and structures without prior permission
  • Between sunrise (dawn) and sunset (dusk)
  • Over persons not directly involved with controlling the UAV

Long Beach Township |Township Code (2015)

This ordinance bans all drone operations, including take-offs and landings, in the township. It also prohibits flying in airspace below 400ft ground level and township structures.

Middlesex County | County Ordinance

This ordinance bans drone operations from all non-designated areas in Middlesex County parks. Designated areas are publicly displayed under the authority of Middlesex’s Director of County Parks & Recreation.

Palisades Interstate Park Commission | Park Ordinance (2019)

This park ordinance bans drones and all other radio-controlled aircraft from flying within all commission-owned/managed parks and property.

The city of Ventnor | Municipal Ordinance (2016)

This ordinance bans drones from take-offs and landings on all government and public buildings. Moreover, UAS operators cannot fly under 400ft around the above structures. The ordinance also prohibits flying UAS in all city-run parks. The exceptions are for those with prior written permission, usually granted for special events from the Ventnor City Chief of Police.

Wayne Township |Township Code (1989)

This ordinance bans all UAV operations from Wayne Township parks outside of designated areas.

UAS operation rules in Parks, Recreation and Cultural Preserves

NJ State Park Service Policy (2015)

This NJ policy bans drone operations from all state-managed lands and waters that don’t have prior approval. Operators must submit applications to fly from the above to the Assistant Director (State Park Service) in accordance with N.J.A.C 7:2-1.4(b).

Specific additional NJ Drone Laws (in Jurisdictions within New Jersey)

Many cities or towns within New Jersey 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 New Jersey

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 drone operations (i.e.e, flying for recreational purposes) in New Jersey State are approved under Federal law, specifically the FAA 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 will help keep the airspace available to everyone.

  1. Fly only for recreational purposes (enjoyment). 
  2. Follow the safety guidelines of an FAA-recognized Community Based Organization (CBO). Note: We have not yet begun officially recognizing CBOs. Recreational flyers should follow the safety guidelines of existing aeromodelling organizations or use the FAA-provided safety guidelines per Advisory Circular 91-57B.
  3. Keep your drone within the visual line of sight or use a co-located visual observer (physically next to) and in direct communication with you.
  4. Give way to and do not interfere with crewed aircraft.
  5. Fly at or below 400′ in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and E) with prior authorization by using LAANC or DroneZone.
  6. Fly at or below 400 feet in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace. Note: Drone flights may be prohibited in certain airspace or may require FAA authorization. A drone pilot can find navigable airspace, other Classes of airspace, and flying restrictions on our B4UFLY app or the UAS Facility Maps webpage.
  7. Take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) and carry proof of test passage.
  8. Have a current registrationmark (PDF) your drones on the outside with the registration number, and carry proof of registration with you.
  9. Do not dangerously operate your drone. For example:
    • Do not interfere with emergency response or law enforcement activities.
    • Do not fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
    • Avoid flying near or over critical infrastructure.

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

Hobbyist rules by Division of Parks and Forestry

The operation of a UAV is hereby specifically prohibited within all lands and waters administered by the State Park Service unless specifically approved by the Assistant Director, State Park Service. Accredited Universities may also request permission for the scheduled operation of a UAV for scientific research projects with a letter signed by the course instructor on official college letterhead. Requests must be made ninety (90) days prior to the intended date of use through a Special Use Permit (SUP), which can be coordinated through the park office. The Superintendent shall outline the safety zone within which only the persons associated with the UAV may be permitted.

All requests to launch, land, or operate a UAV on lands or waters administered by the State Park Service will be adequately evaluated as to the appropriateness of the requested activities and whether the use of a UAV will result in unacceptable impacts to park resources and visitors.

For more details see the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Parks and Forestry, State Park Service Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Policy


Notes for Commercial Drone Services operations in New Jersey

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

Commercial drone operations in NJ 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:

Step 1: Learn the Rules

  1. Make sure you understand what is and is not allowed under Part 107 rules. Review a summary of the Part 107 rules (PDF). Still unsure if Part 107 rules work for you and your intended UAS operation? Check the FAA user identification tool.
  2. Some operations are not covered by Part 107 and will require a waiver. Here are some common examples of Part 107 sections that are subject to waiver:
    • Operation from a moving vehicle or aircraft (§ 107.25) *
    • Daylight operation (§ 107.29)
    • Visual line of sight aircraft operation (§ 107.31) *
    • Visual observer (§ 107.33)
    • Operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft systems (§ 107.35)
    • Yielding the right of way (§ 107.37(a))
    • Operation over people (§ 107.39)
    • Operation in certain airspace (§ 107.41)
    • Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft (§ 107.51) 
    • *The FAA will not waive this section to allow the carriage of property of another by aircraft for compensation or hire.
    • If your operation will require a waiver, read about the Part 107 Waiver application process.
  3. Commercial Drone Pilots should avoid flying near airports because it is difficult for manned aircraft to see and avoid a drone while flying. Remember that the UAS operator must avoid crewed aircraft and are responsible for any safety hazard their drone creates in an airport environment. Read more about flying near airports.

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

  1. 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
  2. Review the entire process to get your Remote Pilot Certificate.
  3. Study for the Knowledge Test by reviewing the Test Prep materials provided by the FAA.
  4. Obtain an FAA Tracking Number (FTN) by creating an Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) profile before registering for a knowledge test.
  5. Schedule an appointment to take the Knowledge Test at an FAA-approved Knowledge Testing Center.
  6. Once you’ve passed your test, complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application) using the electronic FAA Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application system (IACRA)*
  7. You are now eligible to operate as a commercial drone pilot

Step 3: Register your drone with the FAA

  • Registration costs $5 and is valid for three years. You’ll need a credit or debit card and the make and model of your drone handy to register.
  • Visit dronezone.faa.gov and select “Fly sUAS under Part 107” to create an account and register your drone.
  • Once you’ve registered, mark your drone (PDF) with your registration number if it gets lost or stolen.

Commercial rules by Division of Parks and Forestry

The operation of a UAV for commercial purposes is hereby specifically prohibited within all lands and waters administered by the State Park Service unless specifically approved by the Assistant Director, State Park Service.

Accredited Universities may also request permission for the scheduled operation of a UAS for scientific research projects with a letter signed by the course instructor on the official college letterhead. Requests must be made ninety (90) days prior to the intended date of use through a Special Use Permit (SUP), which can be coordinated through the park office. The Superintendent shall outline the safety zone within which only the persons associated with the UAV may be permitted.

All requests to launch, land, or operate a UAV on lands or waters administered by the State Park Service will be adequately evaluated as to the appropriateness of the requested activities and whether the use of a UAV will result in unacceptable impacts to park resources and visitors.

For more details see the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Parks and Forestry, State Park Service Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Policy


Useful published information on flying drones in NJ

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 NJ State 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 aircraft, toy aircraft, Remote controlled aircraft, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.


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IMPORTANT NOTE

The content on this site 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.

The contents of this website are open-sourced and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States (CC By-SA 3.0 US). Feel free to share, remix, or otherwise.

2 thoughts on “Drone Laws in New Jersey”

  1. As retired seniors with hearing disabilities, we walk at Monksville Reservoir for exercise that is beautiful and quiet.
    (The open damn is flat, breezy, and almost bug free.)

    We have seen local families enjoy the view and birds.

    We do not believe drones should be flown there for following reasons:

    Believe only allowed in designated locations like Garrett mountain.
    1. Over Reservoir water for thousands of taxpaying families needs
    2. Over boaters
    3. Near powerlines
    4. Noise pollution
    5. Litter from spectators who fish from damn. Most likely without fishing permits…right near the small sign saying no fishing!

    Signage needs to be
    Clearly posted for the sake of preserving this natural treasure.

    Note: frequently seen at dusk

    Thank you in advance.

    Reply

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