Drone Laws in Washington (2023)
A list of drone regulations and links for people flying drones in Washington.
Washington Drone Regulations
Federal Drone Laws in Washington
These are drone laws that apply to every state in the U.S., including Washington, and were created by the federal government.
To fly a drone as a commercial pilot in the state of Washington (i.e. for work / business purposes) you are required to follow the requirements of the FAA’s Part 107 Small UAS Rule (Part 107), which includes passing the FAA’s Aeronautical Knowledge Test to obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate. You are also required by law to register with Washington state’s Aviation Division.
To fly a drone as a hobbyist in the state of Washington (i.e. for fun / pleasure) you are required by the FAA to take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST). You are also required to follow the FAA’s recreational model aircraft rules. One of those rules is that if your drone weighs more than 0.55 lbs (250g), you’ll need to pay $5 to get it registered. There are additional rules when it comes to airspace and altitude, keeping your drone within line-of-sight while you’re flying, and more.
To fly a drone as a government employee in the state of Washington (i.e., for a police or fire department) you may either operate under the FAA’s Part 107 rule or obtain a federal Certificate of Authorization (COA).
In addition to the above considerations, drone use is prohibited within much of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, which extends along almost the entire northern coast of the state of Washington. These regulations are overseen by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Details can be found in 15 CFR 922, which states “flight operation below 2000′ AGL over the designated areas within the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary violate NOAA regulations.”
Note: The content on this page is meant for informational purposes only, and is not meant to take the place of legal counsel.
State Drone Laws in Washington
These are drone laws that apply to the entire state of Washington, and were created by the Washington State Legislature.
Starting April 1, 2022, commercially operated drones in Washington state are required by law to register with the Aviation Division. Registration is necessary for drone owners who operate their systems under 14 CFR Part 107 rules for compensation or hire, or engage in advertising.
According to the Washington State Legislature, remote controlled aircraft may be flown in any state park area pursuant to written permission from the director or designee. In granting such permission, the director or designee may specify time, geographic, and elevation restrictions, and any other restrictions necessary to protect the public, park visitors or staff, or park resources. While operating a remote controlled aircraft pursuant to written permission under this subsection, the operator shall be in possession of a copy of the written permission and shall produce it upon request by parks staff. Permission granted by the director or designee to fly a remote controlled aircraft is subject to rescission as necessary to protect the public, park visitors or staff, or park resources.
Written permission to fly your remote controlled aircraft in a state park is granted through a permit. Read these instructions on how to apply for a Remote Controlled Aircraft Permit.
All drone pilots operating commercially in the state of Washington are subject to the FAA’s Part 107 rules. Learn more about the FAA’s certification process to obtain a commercial drone license in this free guide.
Know something we don’t about drone laws in Washington? Send us an email at support[at]uavcoach[dot]com. We do our best to keep this list up-to-date, but the reality is that given the pace of the small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) industry and how municipal governments are responding, drone regulations in Washington can change throughout the year, and changes can be hard to track. If we missed something, please reach out to let us know.
Why fly a drone in Washington? To get great shots like these! Hat tip to Rob Miller over at RL Miller Photography for letting use use this pic, which was taken with a DJI Inspire 1 X5 Camera with 15mm lens.
Local Drone Laws in Washington
These are drone laws that apply only to certain regions, cities, or counties within the state of Washington, and were created by various authorities within the state.
In addition to the local laws listed below, it’s important to note that drone flight is not permitted along much of the northern coast of the state of Washington. See the Federal Drone Laws in Washington section above for details.
This city policy requires pilots to submit a ‘Launch Notification’ form if flying near the Navy base.
Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters within the boundaries of the state capitol campus is prohibited except for the exclusions listed under this law.
This city policy declares that drones are not permitted in Bellevue parks, except at Marymoor Park Airfield and 60 Acres Park.
This code prohibits drones from Snohomish County Parks. No person shall operate any radio/remote controlled or self-propelled model airplane, glider, car, boat or any model rocket within a county park except in areas specifically designated by the parks division and posted for such use.
This city ordinance prohibits drones and other remote-controlled aircraft in parks.
These conditions for use require drone operators to obtain a permit for filming with drones when taking off or landing on city-owned property and when flying over city-owned property.
This city ordinance placing limits on the use of drones by government agencies.
Know something we don’t about drone laws in Washington? Send us an email at support[at]uavcoach[dot]com. We do our best to keep this list up-to-date, but the reality is that given the pace of the small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) industry and how municipal governments are responding, local drone regulations in Washington can change throughout the year, and changes can be hard to track. If we missed something, please reach out to let us know.
Looking to get in more practice flying your drone? In addition to taking a drone flight training class with one of our trained instructors, you can also scout out safe and legal places to fly on your own using our guide to the Best Places to Fly a Drone in Seattle.
Want to get a feel for the kind of footage you could get flying a drone in Washington? Here you go: