New Jersey Drone Laws – Overview of Federal and State Restrictions

This article will show you all of the Federal and State New Jersey drone laws, including local and recreational restrictions you must know of
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Last updatedLast updated: June 27, 2022
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The laws of New Jersey are pretty strict when it comes to the operation of drones. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), flying a drone around the state entails adhering to strict regulations. If you break one of these laws, you could face the penalties from loss of drone or drone-related equipment, a fine of up to $1000 per violation, as well as court costs, or up to 30 days in jail.

It’s also important to note that most laws regarding the operation of drones in New Jersey refer only to Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), which are not the same thing as remote-controlled helicopters, airplanes, or quadcopters.

However, they’re regulated by a myriad of laws and regulations. New Jersey has three types of drone laws, which we’ll discuss here: federal, state, and local.

Federal UAS Laws in New Jersey

Drone laws in federal airspace predominate over those in state airspace. A state or local statute that directly contradicts FAA regulations will be declared unconstitutional. These laws are in place because UAS are simple to operate and can even be controlled with a smartphone, making it simple to invade other people’s privacy.

FAA’s Part 107 Small UAS Rule

As per FAA's Part 107 Trusted Source Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Regulations (Part 107) | Federal Aviation Administration The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules for small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or “drone,” operations cover a broad spectrum of commercial and government uses for drones weighing less than 55 pounds. Highlights of the rule, 14 CFR Part 107, follow. www.faa.gov , there is no need for a pilot’s license to operate a drone. Instead, operators must pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test or obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate with a small UAS rating from the FAA.

The operator must maintain visual line-of-sight (VLOS) with the small UAS at a maximum altitude of 400 feet at all times (which means being able to see your drone with your own eyes).
If you’re wondering how tall 400 feet is, it’s more than twice the height of the Empire State Building!

The Recreational UAS Safety Test

For those who want to learn how to fly a drone, the Recreational UAS Safety Test Trusted Source The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) TRUST is The Recreational UAS Safety Test. It provides education and testing for recreational flyers 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. www.faa.gov by FAA, is a must-have credential. It creates awareness for recreational drone pilots about safety, responsibilities, and the laws governing the flying of drones for recreational purposes.

COA governmental employee permission

Federal Aviation Administration regulations dictate that a government employee must receive permission from the Air Traffic Organization Trusted Source Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COA) | Federal Aviation Administration COA is an authorization issued by the Air Traffic Organization to a public operator for a specific UA activity. After a complete application is submitted, FAA conducts a comprehensive operational and technical review. www.faa.gov to use a drone in state airspace.

State Drone Laws in NJ

New Jersey Drone Laws - Overview of Federal and State Restrictions

If you’re wondering if drones are legal in NJ, the answer is yes.

However, you must register all drones weighing more than 0.55 lbs. Drone users who want to avoid weight restrictions can do so with the best drones weighing less than 250 grams.

Also, drones cannot fly over prisons, military bases, power plants, airports, or other restricted spaces. Drones also must not fly higher than 400 feet above ground level.

NJ Statute Definition of UAS

It’s an unmanned system raised using aerodynamic forces—can either fly freely or be controlled remotely. There are a variety of drones on the market, but the Potensic T25 is the best for capturing clear photos and videos with a wide field of view.

NJ State Park Service Policy (2015)

Under New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, drones are prohibited from flying over any park or forestry. The only exceptions are for law enforcement purposes or with a permit from the Superintendent of the Division of Parks and Forestry.

Senate Bill SB 3370 (2017)

Drone pilots that fly their models in a way that endangers life and property, and interferes with a first responder are breaking the law.

Local Drone Laws in New Jersey

New Jersey Drone Laws - Overview of Federal and State Restrictions

If you want to fly a drone in New Jersey, you can get one for under $1000 and take amazing photos and videos.

However, to avoid being fined by the government, you must obey the following drone laws:

  • You must be at least 16 years old
  • Only fly your drone during daylight hours, and never fly over people or property without permission from the owner
  • You must have a remote pilot certificate issued by the FAA
  • Fly no closer than 500 feet from an airport and no higher than 400 feet above the ground

Bernards Township—Municipal Law // 2015

This city ordinance prohibits the use of drones in or over any park or recreation facility. The law also bans new commercial uses of drones, except New Jersey companies operating in Bergen County for at least two years.

Borough of Franklin Lakes | Municipal Ordinance (2016)

These laws protect the people and property in Borough from drones safeguarding their privacy, public health, welfare, and safety.

These regulations include:

  • Drones can only operate below 400 feet of altitude.
  • You may only fly UAS over private land with the property owner’s permission.
  • UAS can only be flown between the hours of dusk and dawn.

Chatham Township—Municipal Ordinance // 2015

The ordinance governs drones on government property, buildings, or parks, preventing them from being operated or flown from any airspace above 400 feet or over any government or public facilities, land, or parks within the Township.

City of Ventnor | Municipal Ordinance (2016)

Unless the Ventnor City Chief of Police has provided prior written authorization for a special event or a City-sponsored event, the drone is forbidden from operating or flying in any airspace above 400 feet.

Drones are not permitted in these conditions:

  • Launched from or landed on any government or public buildings, property, or parks inside the City.
  • Operate or fly above the Ventnor City Beaches from May 31st to September 1st of any given year.
  • Obtain photographs or videos of another person without their permission. This keeps strangers from photographing people in situations where they have a legitimate expectation of their privacy.

East Bay Regional Parks—Municipal Ordinance // 2016

New Jersey Drone Laws - Overview of Federal and State Restrictions

East Bay's District parklands Trusted Source Flying Drones in East Bay Regional Parks Is Illegal With $300 Fines – NBC Bay Area The East Bay Regional Park District is off-limits to drones and will cite violators $300 if they fly the unmanned aircraft in any of the district’s 65 parks and 120,000 acres of open space. www.nbcbayarea.com regulations make it illegal to fly unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) above 400 feet.

Drones are prohibited in the East Bay Regional Park District, and violators will be fined $300 if they fly the unmanned aircraft in any of the district’s 65 parks or 120,000 acres of open space.

Also, drones cannot be flown over all East Bay Regional Parks, regardless of whether the owner has registered.

Essex County—Park Ordinance // 2020

These are the drone laws in NJ under the Essex County Park Ordinance, as revised in 2020:

  • Unless specifically approved by permit, no one may take off, launch, or land a UAS in or on any County Park or Property.
  • Drones are not permitted to fly above any structure, building, or gathering of people.
  • UAS must not be used in a way that harasses or disturbs any wildlife.

Long Beach Township |Township Code (2015)

Persons and entities in Long Beach Township Trusted Source Township of Long Beach, NJ Drones and Unmanned Aircraft Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Long Beach 5-18-2015 by Ord. No. 15-19C. Amendments noted where applicable. ecode360.com are prohibited from:

  • Causing drones to take off or land in the Township.
  • Operating drones in any airspace within 400 feet of the ground and structures in the Township.
  • Operating drones in a reckless, dangerous, harassing, or threatening manner.
  • Flying in the open air for entertainment without first registering any UAS weighing more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds.
  • Flying within five miles of an airport without previously contacting the airport’s operator or traffic control tower.

Middlesex County | County Ordinance

If you live in Middlesex County and want to learn to fly a drone, the Holy Stone HS440 has user-friendly features like a long flight time for every practice session.

However, here are the drone regulations you need to be aware of:

  • You can’t fly your drone higher than 400 feet.
  • Without permission from the Port Authority, you are not permitted to fly within five miles of an airport or heliport.
  • Your drone must stay within a 500-foot radius of you at all times.
  • You can not fly your drone over any property or in any area where people are gathered unless you have their consent.
  • You are not permitted to use your drone to intrude on someone’s privacy. This includes flying UAS over private property and photographing or filming someone or objects.
  • You can’t fly your drone in a way that could endanger people or property.
  • If your drone isn’t equipped with lights and you don’t have a county permit, you won’t be able to fly it at night.

Passaic County—County Ordinance // 2019

To fly a drone in Passaic County Trusted Source Drone Permits | Passaic County, NJ The operation of a UAV is prohibited within all lands and waters within the Passaic County Park System unless specifically approved via permit by the Director of the Passaic County Parks and Recreation Department. www.passaiccountynj.org , you are subject to the following terms and conditions:

  • Ensure you do not harm or disturb any wildlife.
  • Drone operations shall not interfere with official law enforcement, fire, or medical services.
  • You cannot operate the UAV in a dangerous manner or outside the permitted zones.
  • To ensure the safety of all individuals, avoid flying too close to other persons, drones, cars, or structures.
  • You must have a clear line of sight to the UAV at all times.
  • Immediately notify the Passaic County Parks & Recreation Department of any incidents that occur on their property.
  • Drone use will be limited to park operating hours.

Palisades Interstate Park Commission | Park Ordinance (2019)

Drones are not permitted to be flown in the Palisades Interstate Park, on or above school grounds unless they are used for educational purposes by the school.

Also, do not use your drone to photograph or film people without their permission.

Ramapo Indian Hills—Municipal Law // 2016

You cannot fly a UAV over people in Ramapo Indian Hills. The drone must be visible to the pilot and fly at less than 100 miles per hour, staying away from restricted areas such as airports and federal government properties.

Wayne Township |Township Code (1989)

Drone flights are prohibited within 200 feet of the High Mountain Park Preserve, Packanack Lake Park, Pines Lake Park, Packanack Lake Golf Course, and Packanack Valley Golf Course, according to the Wayne Township Parks Commission.

Final Thoughts

When flying a drone in New Jersey, keep in mind that you are not legally permitted to fly higher than 400 feet or within 5 miles of an airport. Flying over or below someone’s private property is also prohibited unless the proprietor gives permission.

Also, always verify local rules before flying within 5 miles of any “critical infrastructure facility,” which includes every power plant in New Jersey and chemical research facilities, landfill sites, water treatment facilities, and other facilities.

Overall, if you follow the guidelines, you can’t go wrong. New Jersey drone laws are straightforward and well-thought-out. The text of the statutes is relatively straightforward, and very few exceptions have been made. With a little knowledge and planning, while using some of the drones we have recommended, a pilot should have no issue navigating these drone rules.

References

1.
Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Regulations (Part 107) | Federal Aviation Administration
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules for small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or “drone,” operations cover a broad spectrum of commercial and government uses for drones weighing less than 55 pounds. Highlights of the rule, 14 CFR Part 107, follow.
2.
The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST)
TRUST is The Recreational UAS Safety Test. It provides education and testing for recreational flyers 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.
3.
Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COA) | Federal Aviation Administration
COA is an authorization issued by the Air Traffic Organization to a public operator for a specific UA activity. After a complete application is submitted, FAA conducts a comprehensive operational and technical review.
4.
Flying Drones in East Bay Regional Parks Is Illegal With $300 Fines – NBC Bay Area
The East Bay Regional Park District is off-limits to drones and will cite violators $300 if they fly the unmanned aircraft in any of the district’s 65 parks and 120,000 acres of open space.
5.
Township of Long Beach, NJ Drones and Unmanned Aircraft
Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Long Beach 5-18-2015 by Ord. No. 15-19C. Amendments noted where applicable.
6.
Drone Permits | Passaic County, NJ
The operation of a UAV is prohibited within all lands and waters within the Passaic County Park System unless specifically approved via permit by the Director of the Passaic County Parks and Recreation Department.
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