Drone Safety

Now that drones, or small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS), are readily available, Scouts and Scouters may be considering incorporating them in an activity or using them to capture photos and videos. BSA local councils may also be considering using them as part of a camp program. We continue to monitor their use and application for future program opportunities.

At this time, we would point potential users to the preface of the Guide to Safe Scouting: “In situations not specifically covered in this guide, activity planners should evaluate the risk or potential risk of harm, and respond with action plans based on common sense, community standards, the Boy Scout motto, and safety policies and practices commonly prescribed for the activity by experienced providers and practitioners.”

If considering the use of a drone, or sUAS:

  • Review and be familiar with the information at http://knowbeforeyoufly.org/ so you can fly responsibly. The organization provides these recommendations:
    • Fly no higher than 400 feet and remain below any surrounding obstacles when possible.
    • Keep your sUAS in eyesight at all times, and use an observer to assist if needed.
    • Do not intentionally fly over unprotected persons or moving vehicles, and remain at least 25 feet away from individuals and vulnerable property.
    • Ensure the operating environment is safe and that the operator is competent and proficient in the operation of the sUAS.
    • Do not conduct surveillance or photograph persons in areas where there is an expectation of privacy without the individual’s permission.
  • Be aware of and guided by the Sweet 16 of BSA Safety.
  • Complete a Program Hazard Analysis to identify and be familiar with the hazards and risks associated with this activity. Pay particular attention to the potential legal liability for injuries and invasion of privacy.
  • Take a PAUSE for safety prior to a flight.
  • Councils considering using drones as part of a program should review NCAP Standards, in particular PD-111 and PD-112, which outline the expectation of conducting a risk analysis and having a plan to operate.
  • Additional risk assessment tools can be found in the Enterprise Risk Management Committee Guidebook, No. 680-026, Appendix 1.