Accessories for flying from a moving sailboat

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I am wondering if there are any devices/accessories which may make my life easier when flying from a moving sailboat. I have had about 30 flights hand launching and catching my drones (phantom 3p, 4a). One time when I was launching from a new boat (which had a different configuration of wires, sails, cables), the drone hit a cable and fell into the water. Then I got 4a so that I could use its obstacle avoidance technology. This is how I almost lost the second drone as I couldn’t “land” since the drone would stop dead before I could reach it.

I know it’s a bit crazy. However, I recognize the risks and understand that I have high chances of losing my drone again.

Nevertheless, I’m hoping there are some accessories which may help me. For instance, I wonder if there is anything like a cable that can be attached to the drone during the launch so that I can hold it until the drone is safe behind the boat, which is when I would release it and it would come back to me..

Also, are there any reliable accessories for floatation when a drone does fall into the water? I have heard about droneraft, but not sure if it provides any reasonable protection.

Thanks!
Mdatx
 

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Then I got 4a so that I could use its obstacle avoidance technology. This is how I almost lost the second drone as I couldn’t “land” since the drone would stop dead before I could reach it.
There are limitations to the obstacle avoidance technology including difficulty seeing thin obstacles such as rigging wires.
It would probably be better to disable obstacle avoidance and not rely on it.
The upside is that you will get a significant speed boost that is very handy dealing with winds.
Nevertheless, I’m hoping there are some accessories which may help me. For instance, I wonder if there is anything like a cable that can be attached to the drone during the launch so that I can hold it until the drone is safe behind the boat, which is when I would release it and it would come back to me..
Apart from a tablet with GPS (that's most Android tablets but only cellular iPads) which is very useful flying from a moving boat, I can't think of much that would help at sea.
As for the launch and recovery issues, you could practice heaving to to make it easier.
If you haven't seen it already, this shows a guy that's got his system worked out:
Also, are there any reliable accessories for floatation when a drone does fall into the water? I have heard about droneraft, but not sure if it provides any reasonable protection.
I fly at sea most of the time and I'd never handicap my drone with any of those dubious floatation devices.
Most would only float a drone upside down and it's going to be a write-off because of the saltwater anyway.
The degree they affect your flight performance and ability to deal with wind is more likely to cause the loss of the drone than it is to save it.

It's much better to have a drone that can fly at full speed and for the normal battery life without being blown away because it has some silly sails that catch the wind and get in the way of the camera.

Here's a nice boat shot for you.

Wind = 18 kts, boatspeed = 18 kts (and I wasn't aboard)
There's no way I'd fly out here in those conditions with bulky floats strapped to the Phantom.
 

PhantomWetSuits

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If you fly near the water long enough you are going to get the drone wet , and possibly get sand in the gimbal from the wind blowing . The Phantomrain Wet Suit designed for the Phantom 4 Series provides for extreme weather conditions and its surge ring located at the bottom of the drone can help it float for a few minutes if you happen to drop it in the water near the boat. I have included some pictures and there are plenty of Videos of the Phantom Wet Suit In action in actual storms on the phantomrain.org site

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The offer a much better visual as they have a neoprene cover that is flat and offer contrast in the bright sun and sky. They protect all the opening of the drone and stop the water from getting inside . They also lock in the battery tighter , and keep the props locked in, and protect the leg clips from coming off.

Its a good fit for your type of flying , laser cut and quality design to protect your drone in and out of the storm.
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.. can help it float for a few minutes if you happen to drop it in the water near the boat.
how will it prevent the drone from sinking? what is "few minutes"? are there any videos showing how a drone will not sink and for how long wearing this?
 
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For a moving ship I recommend launching and landing in atti mode and turning off all sensors.
 
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For a moving ship I recommend launching and landing in atti mode and turning off all sensors.
I generally leave my P3's in GPS mode and switch to ATTI if I'm trying to match drift. You should be familiar enough to use either mode without problems. That said, understanding that what you're doing is risky is probably the best way to approach it. Practice, practice, practice. I don't launch off a sailboat but my powerboat has various antennas sticking up everywhere and the obstacle avoidance on a Mavic Pro does not reliably work on them.

I don't worry about getting the Phantom wet. I have a OpenROV underwater drove that uses cheap Turnigy motors - completely exposed - to power the unit. I do take a wet towel and carefully rub off any salt laden moisture. I also close the upside facing ventilation slots with tape since I'm in Alaska and overheating isn't yet one of our big concerns.

I've never done this but it's at the back of my mind - I carry a big net to land salmon. If I was in a situation that I could not get the Phantom back on board and I was running out of power (been much too close for comfort on a couple of occasions) I envision just swiping the drone out of the sky. Might lose a prop and / or a gimbal but beats dumping the thing.

I am going to take a picture of that if it happens.....
 
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, .

I've never done this but it's at the back of my mind - I carry a big net to land salmon. If I was in a situation that I could not get the Phantom back on board and I was running out of power (been much too close for comfort on a couple of occasions) I envision just swiping the drone out of the sky. Might lose a prop and / or a gimbal but beats dumping the thing.

I am going to take a picture of that if it happens.....
I’ve heard about this approach a few times and I assume it works well. However it’s not very practical as you have to store/travel with a big net. Otherwise I would imagine it being a pretty neat trick.
 

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how will it prevent the drone from sinking? what is "few minutes"? are there any videos showing how a drone will not sink and for how long wearing this?
Yes we have videos on are site and youtube phantomrain.org that you can check out.
We noticed when landing the phantom 4 directly in the water , that it has about 7 seconds before it flipped over upside down.
The reason for this was the gimbal ring at the bottom had zero protection and was really just a big gaping hole so we designed the Surge Ring to fit snug around it .The ring is 5mm its very thin and can provide a better seal to slow down the intake if you go into the water . We increased the time it took to flip upside down by about by just a couple minutes, as its not air tight , but never the less amazed with the results.

This provided a window of time to get to the drone before it sunk deep and lost at sea.
We had a instant when I was just flying over the lake in the shallow end and it was maybe 7 ft deep and I was about 5 ft away from where I landed it , thinking I would be able to get it and by the time i got there , that **** drone was gone,

So yeah a couple minutes is all i needed , hell i just needed 15 more seconds.

These picture were taken about 2 years ago: As we were testing the flow of water on the done as we designed each part for it.
Even with the Go Getter connected , we still lost the drone to the sea.

The motors were still going strong as the drone flipped upside down into the water. Had we of had about another 5 seconds we could have dipped in and out of the water , something we can now do with the phantomrain wetsuit and Surge Mask and Ring. Two separate parts of the wet suit were needed to navigate how fast the drone sunk into the water..

RESEARCH PIC TAKEN TWO YEARS AGO.

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I’ve heard about this approach a few times and I assume it works well. However it’s not very practical as you have to store/travel with a big net. Otherwise I would imagine it being a pretty neat trick.
We always have the landing net on the boat. Putting it in your kit bag would be a stretch. But yeah, hope not to have to use it but it would hopefully keep you from dunking it. P3's sink *very* quickly. I've watched them.....
 

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