Have you ever flown a Mini 2 or any drone from a ferry?

I will be going on a Red Funnel ferry for a 1 hour ride to Isle of Wight. I will have my drone with me as I am going to the Isle of Wight for it, but is it worth taking out my Mini 2 on the ferry?

Any tips, warnings, advice, opinion, anecdotes would be welcome.

Two warnings -

  • Wind … the ferry isn’t seriously fast, but coupled with the ambient wind the total can be significant - depending on the ferry’s, and ambient wind’s, speeds and headings.
  • Magnetic Interference … there’s a LOT of steel in a ferry. Chances are launching from the deck will cause issues, and even launching by hand might be compormised.
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The challenge is landing on a moving target. The Mini 2 takes its cue from GPS, and from its point of view it’s trying to fly it through 3D space while asking it to land.

I found wind speed can be stronger over water, and personally wouldn’t want to chase a ferry to try land on it.

Also in experiments flying from land over the Solent, I have lost signal close to ships. I have assumed it to be RADAR interference, but whatever it was the drone would have to work out what to do for itself a few seconds.

If you set the drone to hover, land, or return to home — the three options from memory — whichever you choose won’t work if you were unlucky to lose signal.

It is a safer bet to fly from dry land, land back on dry land. You can still buzz around the ferry going about its business and you’ll have your drone back to fly another day.

I’m interested in other member’s experiences and opinions.

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Never had that issue in MANY flights around ships in the solent.

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Oh - the other significant difference when taking off from something that’s moving …

If you normally use the auto-take off … it will go up the usual distance and IMMEDIATELY move toward the rear of the ferry … at the ferry’s speed.

It does what’s normal … hover in a stationary position … and that’s in GPS terms.

So - make sure you are at a high point on the ferry with NO superstructure toward the ferry’s stern.



Here’s an occasion when I didn’t lose signal:


Another great point!

Whilst not mine, here’s a large number chasing ships videos with no signal loss taken in that same area.

Search - @richardmarsh888 - Ships


I am not even sure you will be able to take off

I remember reading somewhere if the drone detects movement at take-off (I think it was around 2-3 m/s)

then it will give a navigation error

Never tested this, maybe we could :person_shrugging:

I’ve taken off from boats before ok. Hand launched and landed on deck.

Somewhere there’s a vid that someone posted launching and hand catching off his sailing boat.

And there’s this guy …


DEFINITELY faster than 3 m/s

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Wow that so nearly got wet :grinning:

This one …

Very poor hand launch attempt. Yeah. Posted in #SillyStuff a few weeks back.

Oh - btw, @nextcent, there’s one other thing.

If there’s much up-and-down motion in the boat, the drone can launch itself if it’s sat with the motors running.

Some posts about the issue, and a demo video, in this thread.

And, if it auto launches itself …

… also comes into play.

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Thank you all who replied. That was a good reality check. I can see that I am risking a very hazardous operation which is not warranted. I am going to play it safe and cover things from better conditions on the ground.
Thanks a lot for your help.


This is my favourite launch & catch.


Sod the drone flying! I would just LOVE to be sailing that incredible boat in the incredible race in which it was participating!

Regret few things in life … but missing out on a round-the-world sailing race I’d been selected for is one such.


Wow, that was incredible! But it also shows why I love the drone so much. Having a drone is like having the omni viewpoint in a story. There is no other way they could have captured that epic footage! Thanks for sharing this.


Still on my bucket list - not neccessarily racing - but to sail around :heart_eyes:

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On the RTH side of it couldnt you set it so it is using the Controller as the ‘Home’ point???

Still a very new Newbie but just thinking logically? The controller is moving so the drone will follow the controller??

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