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Can You Fly a Drone in Hoboken, NJ?

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Overlooking the Hudson River, Hoboken is a northern New Jersey city that was once an industrial port (fun fact: it’s also the birthplace of Frank Sinatra).

You can see the stately Manhattan skyline from right across the river, which is why it’s such a popular part of Jersey to visit.

Can you fly your drone in Hoboken, NJ?

You can fly a drone in Hoboken, NJ, and doing so is a great spot to get views of New York City without venturing over state lines. You do have to follow all federal guidelines as well as state and local drone laws.

Ahead, we’ll talk further about drone rules in Hoboken, including what’s allowed and what isn’t so you can plan safe travels ahead!

Can you fly a drone in Hoboken, NJ? #

As a hub for art, culture, history, and resplendent outdoor beauty, Hoboken is like a magnet to drone pilots. Fortunately, no New Jersey drone law prohibits you from flying your UAV in this part of Hudson County.

On eCode360 is a review of all the active laws in Hoboken, and as you’ll see, nothing pertains to drones.

Interestingly, it’s much the same case for another Hudson County city we talked about recently, Jersey City.

» MORE: Can You Fly a Drone in Jersey City?

Both cities, besides sharing similar zip codes and proximity, afford stunning views into neighboring New York City, which is one of the biggest reasons to fly your drone in Hoboken.

As you may recall (and if not, here’s our post on New York drone rules to refresh your memory), you’re not allowed to fly your drone in NYC. This tourist destination is flooded with people morning, noon, and night, so your drone would pose too great of a flight risk.

» MORE: Flying a Drone in New York City

When you fly in Hoboken, that’s the closest you can get to New York City while still staying in New Jersey. As we mentioned in the intro, you can see the NYC skyline from your vantage point, especially if you’re using your drone near the Hudson River.

Now, allow us to make one point clear. Although you’re free to fly a UAV in Hoboken (within reason, of course), that doesn’t mean New Jersey is devoid of drone laws altogether. That would be preposterous.

NJ has state guidelines you have to abide by, and you’re always subject to federal law, including the FAA’s guidelines. We’ll talk more about all that a little later.

Can you fly a drone at the Statue of Liberty? #

Although most people know it as a New York landmark, technically, the Statue of Liberty is a part of Jersey as well. It’s also incredibly easy to reach the statue from Hoboken.

We know what you’re thinking – you’ll plan a day that’s not so busy, ferry over, and capture incredible footage of the Statue of Liberty with your drone (especially considering you can’t even tour the whole thing anymore).

It sounds nice in theory, but it’s been illegal since 2017.

That was the year the FAA updated its Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) §99.7, Special security instructions.

Prior to this, there had been concerns about drone use around Department of Interior sites, and not only the Statue of Liberty either, but Mount Rushmore too.

Together with the DOI, the FAA updated its regulations and now prohibits drone pilots from flying within 400 feet of the Statue of Liberty.

Exceptions exist, as is the case with any drone rule, but you’d need ultra-specialized flight permissions issued by the FAA or the National Park Service, which manages the Statue of Liberty.

Since the Statue of Liberty is in a known no-fly zone and has been for more than five years, don’t expect any leniency if you decide to operate your UAV around this beloved American landmark.

An article from 2018 reports on a drone pilot who was flying around the Statue of Liberty and was reported on by a crew flying near the monument.

The NYPD was called to catch the drone. In that case, it didn’t happen because the drone managed to disappear, but if it had, here’s what would have gone down.

The police would have insisted the pilot ground their drone. Once that happened, the pilot would have been prosecuted for their crimes.

Violating drone laws in most states is a misdemeanor charge, but considering the FAA is blockading drones from around the Statue of Liberty, the punishment could be much steeper.

You could face fines in the thousands of dollars and possibly months behind bars as well. 

Hoboken, NJ drone rules to know before you go #

Without any local laws of its own, all federal and New Jersey state drone laws apply when using your drone in Hoboken. Here’s an overview of those laws for you.

All pilots require a license #

Most of you reading this are either commercial or recreational pilots, and that means you need a license.

For the commercial pilots out there, yours is the Remote Pilot Certificate. This official FAA license is only issued to you after successfully passing the Part 107 exam.

Passing requires you to answer 70 percent of the questions right, and the Part 107 exam has 60 multiple-choice questions in all. You’re given nearly three hours to take the test, but each exam attempt costs a fee, and you don’t take the test online.

Your commercial license will expire in two years, which is by design so you can stay current on the FAA’s guidelines.

The rule once was that you had to take the Part 107 exam every two years for as long as you wanted to maintain a commercial license. Now, the FAA has updated its rules.

You can recertify your Remote Pilot Certificate by taking a short, free online test through the FAA.

Switching gears now to recreational pilots, you need a license called the TRUST certificate. You’ll have to complete The Recreational UAS Safety Test to get it.

The TRUST test is a short online exam that’s free to take. The FAA wants you to have a good grasp of its regulations, which is why you can correct any wrong answer before you submit your test.

Once you have the TRUST certificate, it’s good for life.

Register your drone #

All but toy drones need to be registered with the FAA. A toy drone or any drone that weighs under 0.55 pounds is exempted.

You can register your drone for up to three years at a time. The fee is $5 per drone.

Stay out of state parks #

In our review of New Jersey drone laws, we discussed the 2015 New Jersey State Park Policy, which makes it illegal to operate a drone in any waters and lands the State Park Service administers.

» MORE: New Jersey drone laws

In other words, no state park drone flights for you.

Granted, Hoboken itself doesn’t have any state parks. The closest is Jersey City’s Liberty State Park, but keep in mind this rule applies to the entirety of New Jersey, not just Hoboken!

No reckless drone behavior #

Another law to be abreast of is the 2017 state law SB 3370. You could be charged with a disorderly person offense if you operate your drone dangerously.

What does SB 3370 constitute as dangerous drone use? Trying to take wildlife, flying while under the influence, and endangering someone’s property or life.

The punishment is a six-month jail sentence and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

Keep your drone in your visual line of sight #

At all times when flying your drone in Hoboken or elsewhere in NJ, you have to keep your drone within your visual line of sight.

If you can barely see your drone out on the horizon, then it’s at risk of leaving your visual line of sight. You can’t control what happens to it next, so return it to you before it flies out further.

Do not fly higher than 400 feet #

Across the United States, the blanket altitude for drone pilots is 400 feet. Take special care not to exceed that altitude.

Don’t surpass speeds of 100 miles per hour #

Hoboken might not be as crowded as NYC, but it does attract its fair share of people. To avoid putting anyone’s wellbeing at risk when flying your drone, maintain speeds under 100 MPH.

Only fly your drone during daylight hours #

Once the sun is up, you’re free to fly your drone until sunset. Unless you have permission, then you shouldn’t be out with your UAV past dark.

Do not use your drone in inclement weather #

Hoboken, being a part of New Jersey, experiences all four seasons to the fullest. That can mean pelting rains in the spring and summer and feet of snow in the winter.

Keep in mind that the city’s proximity to the water can make conditions cold and windy as well.

When the weather conditions are poor, don’t chance it. Fly your drone another day.

Don’t fly over people’s heads #

You also don’t want to fly too close to any passersby, and especially don’t soar your drone over their heads. Keep a good distance away from people and do not fly during any crowded events.

Conclusion #

Hoboken is a beloved northern New Jersey city that’s very close to New York City. You can see Manhattan from Hoboken, as only the Hudson River separates them.

You can fly your drone in Hoboken, but make sure you follow all the requisite laws so that drone flight is something that every pilot can enjoy for a long time to come!

References:eCode360 – City of Hoboken, NJ Table of Contents (link)FAA Restricts Drones over Statue of Liberty, Other Landmarks (link)Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) §99.7 (link)NYPD search for drone spotted ‘near’ Statue of Liberty (link)


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