The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), at the request of the Department of Defense (DOD) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG), issued new drone operating restrictions to address concerns about potentially malicious drone operations over certain high-priority maritime operations.

Drones are restricted from flying near U.S. Navy (USN) and USCG vessels operating in the vicinity of Naval Base Kitsap in Washington state and Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia. Drone operations are required to maintain a distance of at least 3,000 feet laterally and 1,000 feet vertically from these vessels.

Additionally, these USN and USCG vessels are authorized by the FAA to take protective action against drones perceived to be safety or security threats. This means that the drones may be seized, disrupted, damaged, or destroyed. Drone operators who do not comply with the FAA’s special security instructions could face enforcement action, including civil penalties and/or criminal charges.

If a drone operator has an overriding reason of public interest or necessity (e.g., rescue missions) to operate near USN or USCG vessels, the operator must first coordinate with the USN or USCG to do so.