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Drone Laws in Rhode Island: Everything You Need to Know (2023)

Updated in 2023 by Paul Posea
Rhode Island (2)

Rhode Island is the smallest state in the US, but it offers a lot of amazing places where you can fly your drone. The State has a 400-mile long coastline with splendid beaches that give a nice view from the top.

However, before you plan to pack your drone and visit the state of Rhode Island, you need to be fully aware of all the rules and regulations. With that said, you shouldn't worry at all because I have compiled a list of all the drone laws in Rhode Island for you.

So if you are interested in learning all this, keep on reading!

Are Drones Allowed in Rhode Island?

If you are going to visit Rhode Island for the first time, then the first question that you will have on your mind is whether drones are allowed in the state or not. 

Rhode Island allows the use of drones for both commercial and recreational purposes, provided that the pilot is following all the rules and regulations of the FAA, state, and local authorities.

As already mentioned, there are rules and regulations on different levels for both recreational and commercial drones. If you don't follow these rules, you may get yourself into trouble. 

 Let's look at all of these rules and regulations to get a better understanding. 

FAA Drone Laws in Rhode Island

The Federal Aviation Administration has imposed rules and regulations common to all US states. These rules and regulations are different for each drone category. 

FAA Rules for Commercial Drone-Pilots

If you are a commercial drone pilot and want to fly your drone for commercial purposes, you must first register your drone with the FAA. Apart from that, you will need to make sure that your registration number is clearly visible and affixed to your drone. 

Moreover, according to the FAA, you will also need to pass the Aeronautical knowledge test and obtain your remote pilot license. After that, you will be eligible for your drone for commercial purposes. 

FAA Rules for Recreational Drone Pilots

If you want to fly your drone for recreational purposes within the state, you must take the recreational UAS safety test (TRUST). Apart from that, the FAA also demands all commercial drone pilots follow the recreational model aircraft rules.

According to these rules, the weight of the UAV must be between 0.55 lbs to 55lbs. In addition to this, if the drone's weight is above 0.55 lbs, you will need to register your drone with the FAA. However, if the drone is below 0.55 lbs, you don't need to register it. 

You need to pay a $5 registration fee. The FAA wants recreational drone pilots to fly within the line of sight range, and you can't fly your drone farther than this range. Moreover, you are also not allowed to fly your drone directly over people.

FAA Rules for Govt Operators

All government operators, whether from the police department or fire department, will need to operate their drone according to the FAA's Part 107 laws. Besides that, you may also obtain a federal certification of authorization. 

 State Laws for Drones in Rhode Island 

There are two state-wide laws for drones in Rhode Island, which are imposed by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation and General Assembly. 

According to the HB 755 of the 2016 act, the state of Rhode Island and Rhode Island Airport has exclusive regulatory authority. It pre-empts the local governments from making their own rules and regulations for drones within the state.

Moreover, title 250 of the park and management area rules and regulations act 2019 prohibits the use of drones without a permit. If you want to fly your drone within the state parks, you must obtain a special use permit; otherwise, you will be violating the laws. Also, it should be kept in mind that the special permit is only allowed for those who are from professional film companies or news organizations. 

In addition to this, you can not use your drone for hunting or fishing activities. Besides that, you can't harass or disturb the users or any other natural resources within the state park. 

Local Laws for Drones in Rhode Island 

Although the HB 7511 act of 2016 pre-empts the local governments from creating their own laws. However, on 6 June 2016, the Narragansett town council adopted a new rule. According to this rule, you can not fly your drone within 500 feet or over the town beach during the beach season. 

In addition to this, it also restricts the use of drones within 500 feet range of any large venue or special event within the town of Narragansett. Besides that, you can not fly your drone directly over public parks, roads, and public facilities. 

Do I Need to Register my Drone in Rhode Island?

You might also be wondering whether you need to register your drone in Rhode Island or not. 

The answer to this question depends upon the size and weight of the drone. According to the FAA's part 107, if the drone's weight is below 0.55lbs, you don't need to register it. However, if it exceeds the 0.55 lbs weight limit, you must register it and affix your registration number to your drone. 

In addition to this, you must carry your license either electronically or in paper format. This is because if the local, state, or federal authorities ask you for it, you can present it. 

Hi, I'm Paul.
A big drone enthusiast, reviewing, comparing and writing about drones since 2015. I'm all about helping people enjoy and even monetize their hobby.

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paul posea
Paul Posea
Hi, I'm a long-time drone reviewer and I hope my articles and comparisons on this site as well as Dronesgator's youtube channel are of as much help as possible.
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