drone laws in south carolina

Paying attention to everything the FAA has put forth since their rules and regulations were initially put into full effect is crucial for all drone fliers. Are you aware of the laws and regulations related to drones in your state, as well?

Learn All The Drone Rules & Regulations

This article will give a brief overview of the laws in your state, but we can’t keep cover all the minutae in only two thousand words. That’s why we highly recommend that you do some research on your own time and, ideally, enroll in a professional course if you’re actually looking to get certified. Though there’s lots of options for learning more about drone laws, we highly recommend the#1 Rated Professional Course: Drone Pilot Ground School. Get $50 Off as a Dronethusiast reader, just click the link and sign up. It’s a great way to learn about drone laws and piloting that’s cheaper than most of its competition, you can purchase it once and own it forever and they’re constantly updating their professional training.

Flying Over South Carolina

Charleston is the ultimate place to be for any drone user out there looking to catch some epic footage. The Charleston Harbor houses Fort Sumter, which is the site where the Civil War’s first shots were fired. It’s an inlet for the Atlantic Oceans, has amazing beaches, and even a couple of ghost tours on location that are worth checking out while you’re there.

Unfortunately, Myrtle Beach is mostly out of the question because of a nearby airport, unless you head to the northern area close to the Prince Resort. You’ll know you’re there once you see the pier, which is a lovely sight in itself and great for shots.

Huntington State Park is a great location for anyone looking to get in touch with their wild side. You can see some alligators there that make for awesome video footage and photographs!

flying over south carolina

The Registering Process in South Carolina

drone laws in south carolina registering process

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that all Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) owners follow strict regulations and laws. You will need to file your name, home address and your email address as a start.

From there, you will receive a Certificate of Aircraft Registration and Proof of Ownership. These will include an identification number for your aircraft. You must have this number displayed on your drone at all times. The number will be valid for up to 3 years.

All aircraft that weighs more than 0.55 pounds, or 250 grams, and less than 55 pounds, or 25 kilograms, must be registered. This also includes any added payloads, such as an onboard camera.

You must be at least 13-years-old in order to register and, effective December 21st, 2015, all newly purchased or made drones must be registered before their first flight. You are able to register through a paper-based process, but you can also do so online by clicking here.

Proximity to Airports in South Carolina

proximity to airports in south carolina

As a general rule of thumb, and in accordance with the law from the FAA, you may not fly within a 5-mile radius of any airport. In 2012 the FAA enacted the Modernization and Reauthorization Act which requires hobbyist drone operators, meaning residential, to contact air traffic control and/or airport management if they are operating within a 5-mile radius of any local airport.

This is enacted nationwide, not only in South Carolina, under Part 101 of the Act, being Special Rule for Model Aircraft, to ensure that drone operations under unsafe conditions are disapproved before the drone can be launched.

Regardless of the local airport you will be flying near, and possibly breaching airspace, you will need to contact either the airport air traffic control tower or the airport operator.

You will need to establish an agreed-upon operating procedure with airport air traffic or the airport operator and answer a couple of questions. For example, questions relating to how long you are going to be flying for.

Unique Drone Laws in South Carolina

At this time of writing, all of the legal information listed below is deemed as accurate as possible and fully in effect.

Chapter 141: Prohibited Activity At Town-Owned Parks – Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina

Section

141.01 Purpose
141.02 Hours
141.03 Prohibited activity

141.99 Penalty

Cross-reference: General regulations for Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Par, see Ch. 97

141.01 PURPOSE.

The Town of Mount Pleasant takes pride in its many designated park areas, including Mount Pleasant Memorial Park (MWP), Shem Creek Park (SCP) and others. A high volume of tourists and local use demands close attention to safety and concern or others. As such, this chapter is promulgated pursuant to the town’s police powers to ensure the safety and well-being of all users of town-owned parks.

(Ord. 09034, passes 7-14-09)

141.03 PROHIBITED ACTIVITY.

(P) Flying objects. No person shall operate a drone or any other remotely controlled flying object; fly a kite; or release helium balloons, flying lanterns or any other flying object at MWP.

141.99 PENALTY.

Any person guilty of violating any provision of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine of up to $500 or imprisonment for up to 30 days, or both.

(Ord. 09034, passed 7-14-09)

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Drone Rules

The National Wildlife Refuge System, and certain surrounding areas, have strict regulations regarding drone use.

National Park Service – Policy Memorandum 14-05 – Unmanned Aircraft – Interim Policy

Introduction

There has been dramatic growth throughout the United States in the numbers and use of unmanned aircraft during recent years. The likely increase in the use of these devices in units of the National Park System will undoubtedly impact park resources, staff, and visitors in ways that have yet to be identified. Recent use of unmanned aircraft in several park areas has generated a number of questions by park managers regarding concerns about their compatibility with the National Park Service (NPS) mission.

As used in this Policy Memorandum and its exhibits, the term “park” means any unit of the National Park System.

Purpose

The purpose of this Policy Memorandum is to ensure that the use of unmanned aircraft is addressed in a consistent manner by the NPS before a significant level of such use occurs within the National Park System. Accordingly, I direct each superintendent to use the authority under 36 CFR 1.5 to close units of the National Park System to launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircraft, subject to the conditions and exceptions described below. This action must be taken by superintendents no later than August 20, 2014.

For purposes of this Policy Memorandum, the term “unmanned aircraft” means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components that are required for the pilot or system operator in command to operate or control the device (such as cameras, sensors, communication links). This term includes all types of devices that meet this definition (e.g., model airplanes, quadcopters, drones) that are used for any purpose, including for recreation or commerce.

Background

The compendium closures required to implement this interim policy are necessary to maintain public health and safety in units of the National Park System and to protect park resources and values until the NPS can determine whether specific uses of unmanned aircraft on lands and waters administered by the NPS are appropriate and will not cause unacceptable impacts on park resources and values. These closures by the superintendents implement Section 1.5 of NPS Management Policies 2006, which provides that a new form of park use may be allowed within a park only after a determination has been made in the professional judgment of the superintendent that it will not result in unacceptable impacts on park resources and values.[1] When proposed park uses and the protection of park resources and values come into conflict, the protection of resources and values must be predominant.

Except for the limited existing use of model aircraft in some parks, the use of unmanned aircraft on lands and waters administered by the NPS is a new park use. As unmanned aircraft have become more affordable and easier to operate, they have begun to appear in some park areas. Although their use remains relatively infrequent across the National Park System, this new use has the potential to cause unacceptable impacts such as harming visitors, interfering with rescue operations, causing excessive noise, impacting viewsheds, and disturbing wildlife.[2] Recent incidents at Grand Canyon National Park,[3] Zion National Park,[4] and Mount Rushmore National Memorial[5] support the need for the required closures to enable a proper evaluation of this new use. These closures are a necessary, interim measure while this new use can be properly evaluated.

Another reason for the required closures is that current NPS regulations do not specifically address launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircraft. The prohibition on operating or using an aircraft in 36 CFR 2.17(a)(1) does not apply to unmanned aircraft because the definition of “aircraft” in 36 CFR 1.4 is limited to devices used or intended to be used for human flight. Further, section 2.17(a)(3) could be construed to apply only to unmanned aircraft when used to deliver or retrieve an object from NPS-administered lands. Exhibit A to this Policy Memorandum lists other regulations in 36 CFR that may apply to the use of unmanned aircraft under certain circumstances.

Because the existing NPS regulations can only be used to address unmanned aircraft in certain circumstances, the best way at this time for superintendents to address the use of unmanned aircraft is to exercise their authority pursuant to 36 CFR 1.5.

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REQUIRED ACTIONS

All superintendents must take the following actions no later than August 20, 2014, except that actions 6 through 8 must be taken immediately upon the receipt of this Policy Memorandum. Regional directors will ensure that every park complies with this policy by the date required.

1. Insert the following closure language in the park compendium:

Authority: 36 CFR 1.5

Definition:

The term “unmanned aircraft” means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components that are required for the pilot or system operator in command to operate or control the device (such as cameras, sensors, communication links). This term includes all types of devices that meet this definition (e.g., model airplanes, quadcopters, drones) that are used for any purpose, including for recreation or commerce.

Closure Language:

Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of [insert name of park] is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent.

Existing closures or restrictions related to unmanned aircraft in park compendiums must be replaced with the closure language stated above within the allotted timeframe. Superintendents should create a compendium and insert the closure language if their park does not have an existing compendium. Superintendents may not approve the use of unmanned aircraft under the closure language unless such use is approved pursuant to the procedures contained in this Policy Memorandum.

2. Provide adequate public notice of the required compendium closure in accordance with 36 CFR 1.7(a) by using one or more of the following methods: signs, maps, publication in a local or regional newspaper, electronic media, park brochures, or handouts.

3. Pursuant to 36 CFR 1.5(c), prepare a written determination justifying the closure.

The determination must explain why the action is necessary for one or more of the reasons set out in 36 CFR 1.5(a). These reasons include the maintenance of public health and safety, protection of environmental or scenic values, protection of natural or cultural resources, implementation of management responsibilities, equitable allocation and use of facilities, or the avoidance of conflict among visitor use activities. As appropriate, the explanation may address the protection of specific resources, such as wildlife, and endangered and threatened species in particular, incompatibility with areas that are eligible, studied, proposed, recommended, or officially designated as wilderness,[6] unreasonable noise, or impacts to viewshed. Superintendents should consider the purposes for which the park was established when articulating the reasons for the closure. Superintendents may also cite the reasons explained in the Background section of this Policy Memorandum.

In addition, the determination must include a written explanation of why less restrictive measures will not suffice.

Superintendents may refer to Management Policies section 1.5 (stated above) which requires caution when a park is confronted with a new park use such as unmanned aircraft. In addition, the determination may explain that the compendium closure is a necessary, interim measure until the NPS considers how to address this new use on a long-term basis and that allowing the use of unmanned aircraft before the park has properly evaluated whether this use is appropriate could result in unacceptable impacts to park resources, park values, and visitor safety.

For parks that have existing closures or restrictions relating to unmanned aircraft, superintendents should review and supplement the written determinations justifying such closures or restrictions based upon the findings and direction of this Policy Memorandum. Superintendents must sign and date the written determination described in this section and should place it in the compendium.

4. Complete an Environmental Screening Form to evaluate the level of necessary compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). The required compendium closure will ordinarily fall within the categorical exclusion under 516 DM 12.5(D)(2) (“Minor changes in amounts or types of visitor use for the purpose of ensuring visitor safety or resource protection in accordance with existing regulations.”) or other provisions of the Departmental Manual or Director’s Order #12 Handbook.

5. Comply with all other applicable laws, regulations, and policies such as, but not limited to, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). The required compendium closure will ordinarily result in a finding of no effect on listed species under the ESA and a finding of no effect on historic properties under the NHPA.

6. Except for existing permits for model aircraft described in paragraph 1(a) below (see Conditions and Exceptions), suspend all special use permits issued for the operation of unmanned aircraft until they have been reviewed and approved in writing by the Associate Director, Visitor and Resource Protection (ADVRP).

7. Not issue any new special use permits for the use of unmanned aircraft unless they have been approved by the ADVRP under paragraph 1(d) below (see Conditions and Exceptions).

8. Not authorize any business operations using unmanned aircraft under 36 CFR 5.3, except for activities conducted under special use permits approved by the ADVRP under paragraph 1(d) below (see Conditions and Exceptions).

Conditions and Exceptions

1. The required compendium closures do not apply to the following activities:

(a) The use, authorized in writing prior to the date of this Policy Memorandum, of model aircraft (as that term is used in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Advisory Circular 91-57 and section 336 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2012) for hobbyist and recreational use at locations and under conditions (i) established by the superintendent in the compendium; or (ii) issued under a special use permit. Continued activities under these existing authorities are allowed, but renewals and modifications of these compendium provisions or permits must be approved in writing by the ADVRP. Superintendents of these parks should note in their compendiums that the required closures do not apply to these established uses.
(b) Administrative use of unmanned aircraft as approved in writing by the ADVRP for such purposes as scientific study, search and rescue operations, fire operations, and law enforcement. Administrative use includes the use of unmanned aircraft by (i) NPS personnel as operators or crew; (ii) cooperators such as government agencies and universities that conduct unmanned aircraft operations for the NPS pursuant to a written agreement; and (iii) other entities, including commercial entities, conducting unmanned aircraft operations for the NPS, provided such entities are in compliance with all applicable FAA and Department of the Interior requirements. A separate guidance package will be provided for parks requesting approval for administrative use of unmanned aircraft.
(c) Activities conducted under a Scientific Research and Collecting Permit that specifically authorizes launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft and is approved in writing by the ADVRP in consultation with the Associate Director for Natural Resource Stewardship and Science.
(d) Activities conducted under a special use permit that specifically authorizes launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft and is approved in writing by the ADVRP. Superintendents should refer to Exhibit B if they intend to seek approval for a special use permit under this exception.

2. The compendium closures required by this Policy Memorandum do not apply to launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircraft from or on non-federally owned lands located within the exterior boundaries of units of the National Park System. However, in accordance with 36 CFR 1.2(a)(3), the compendium closure applies to such activities conducted on waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States located within the boundaries of the National Park System.

3. Nothing in this Policy Memorandum will be construed as modifying any requirement imposed by the FAA on the use or operation of unmanned aircraft in the National Airspace System. The NPS will continue to coordinate with the FAA on national or other appropriate levels regarding the use of unmanned aircraft on lands and waters administered by the NPS.

4. This Policy Memorandum will remain in effect until superseded or rescinded by the Director.

Other Legal Issues With Drones in South Carolina

At this time of writing, there are currently a number of bills in circulation within the state of South Carolina surrounding drones.

S 109 Session 122 (2017-2018) – Military Bases

A BILL
TO AMEND ARTICLE 7, CHAPTER 11, TITLE 16 OF THE 1976 CODE, RELATING TO TRESPASSES AND THE UNLAWFUL USE OF THE PROPERTY OF OTHERS, BY ADDING SECTION 16-11-605, TO PROVIDE THAT IT IS UNLAWFUL TO OPERATE AN UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE WITHIN A CERTAIN DISTANCE OF A STATE OR FEDERAL MILITARY INSTALLATION AND TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR THE VIOLATION.
Amend Title To Conform
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Article 7, Chapter 11, Title 16 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
“Section 16-11-605. (A) A person shall not operate an unmanned aerial vehicle within a horizontal distance of five hundred feet or a vertical distance of four hundred feet from a state or federal military installation with restricted public access without written consent from the commander of the specific military installation or his designee. If specific approvals have been given, all flights must be conducted within the requirements set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration for the operations of unmanned aerial vehicles.
(B) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days.”
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

S 176 Session 122 (2017-2018) – Correctional Facilities

A BILL
TO AMEND CHAPTER 1, TITLE 24 OF THE 1976 CODE, RELATING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, BY ADDING SECTION 24-1-300, TO PROVIDE THAT IT IS UNLAWFUL TO OPERATE AN UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE WITHIN A CERTAIN DISTANCE OF A DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS FACILITY WITHOUT WRITTEN CONSENT, AND TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR THE VIOLATION.
Amend Title To Conform
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Chapter 1, Title 24 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
“Section 24-1-300. (A) A person shall not operate an unmanned aerial vehicle within a horizontal distance of five hundred feet or a vertical distance of two hundred fifty feet from any Department of Corrections facility without written consent from the Director of the Department of Corrections.
(B) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.
(C)(1) In addition to the penalty provided in this section, an unmanned aerial vehicle involved in the violation of this section may be confiscated by the Department of Corrections. An unmanned aerial vehicle must not be disposed of in any manner until the results of any legal proceeding in which it may be involved are finally determined, or as otherwise required by Section 17-28-300, et seq. Records must be kept of all confiscated unmanned aerial vehicles received by the Department of Corrections under the provisions of this section. Upon conviction, pursuant to a violation of this section, the relevant unmanned aerial vehicle shall be transferred to the State Law Enforcement Division to use within the agency for any lawful purpose or for destruction, unless otherwise provided in this section.
(2) Any unmanned aerial vehicle confiscated pursuant to this section shall be administratively released to an innocent owner. The unmanned aerial vehicle must not be released to the innocent owner until the results of any legal proceedings in which the unmanned aerial vehicle may be involved are finally determined, or as otherwise required by Section 17-28-300, et seq. Before the unmanned aerial vehicle may be released, the innocent owner shall provide the Department of Corrections with proof of ownership; shall certify that the innocent owner neither was a consenting party to nor had knowledge of the use of the unmanned aerial vehicle that made it subject to confiscation; and shall certify that the innocent owner will not release the unmanned aerial vehicle to the person who was charged with the violation of this section that resulted in the confiscation of the unmanned aerial vehicle. The Department of Corrections shall notify the innocent owner when the unmanned aerial vehicle is available for release. If the innocent owner fails to recover the unmanned aerial vehicle within thirty days after notification of the release, the Department of Corrections may use the unmanned aerial vehicle within the agency for any lawful purpose or destroy it.”
SECTION 2. Article 1, Chapter 5, Title 24 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
“Section 24-5-175. (A) A person shall not operate an unmanned aerial vehicle within a horizontal distance of five hundred feet or a vertical distance of two hundred fifty feet from any local detention facility without written consent from the jail administrator.
(B) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.
(C)(1) In addition to the penalty provided in this section, an unmanned aerial vehicle involved in the violation of this section may be confiscated by the jail administrator of a local detention facility. An unmanned aerial vehicle must not be disposed of in any manner until the results of any legal proceeding in which it may be involved are finally determined, or as otherwise required by Section 17-28-300, et seq. Records must be kept of all confiscated unmanned aerial vehicles received by the jail administrator under the provisions of this section. Upon conviction, pursuant to a violation of this section, the relevant unmanned aerial vehicle shall be transferred to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to use within the agency for any lawful purpose or for destruction, unless otherwise provided in this section.
(2) Any unmanned aerial vehicle confiscated pursuant to this section shall be administratively released to an innocent owner. The unmanned aerial vehicle must not be released to the innocent owner until the results of any legal proceedings in which the unmanned aerial vehicle may be involved are finally determined, or as otherwise required by Section 17-28-300, et seq. Before the unmanned aerial vehicle may be released, the innocent owner shall provide the jail administrator with proof of ownership; shall certify that the innocent owner neither was a consenting party to nor had knowledge of the use of the unmanned aerial vehicle that made it subject to the confiscation; and shall certify that the innocent owner will not release the unmanned aerial vehicle to the person who was charged with the violation of this section that resulted in the confiscation of the unmanned aerial vehicle. The jail administrator shall notify the innocent owner when the unmanned aerial vehicle is available for release. If the innocent owner fails to recover the unmanned aerial vehicle within thirty days after notification of the release, the local detention facility may use the unmanned aerial vehicle within the agency for any lawful purpose or destroy it.”
SECTION 3. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

S 498 – Aerial Trespassing

A BILL
TO AMEND ARTICLE 7, CHAPTER 11, TITLE 16 OF THE 1976 CODE, RELATING TO TRESPASSES AND UNLAWFUL USE OF LAND OF OTHERS, BY ADDING SECTION 16-11-605, TO PROVIDE THAT IT IS UNLAWFUL TO WILFULLY CAUSE OR ALLOW CERTAIN AERIAL VEHICLES, COMMONLY REFERRED TO AS DRONES, TO ENTER UPON OR ABOVE THE LAND OF ANOTHER, TO PROVIDE EXEMPTIONS, AND TO PROVIDE FOR PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS; TO AMEND CHAPTER 13, TITLE 17, RELATING TO ARREST, PROCESS, SEARCHES, AND SEIZURES, BY ADDING SECTION 17-13-180, TO PROVIDE THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES MAY NOT USE CERTAIN AERIAL VEHICLES, COMMONLY REFERRED TO AS DRONES FOR INVESTIGATIVE PURPOSES WITHOUT A WARRANT, TO PROVIDE FOR EXCEPTIONS, TO PROVIDE FOR A CIVIL CAUSE OF ACTION FOR VIOLATIONS, AND TO PROVIDE THAT EVIDENCE OBTAINED IN VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION IS INADMISSIBLE.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Article 7, Chapter 11, Title 16 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
“Section 16-11-605. (A) Any person wilfully causing or allowing an unmanned aerial vehicle, an unpiloted aerial vehicle, or a remotely piloted aerial vehicle under his control that is equipped with a camera or a recording device to enter upon or above the lands of another, without the consent of the owner, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall, for a first offense, be fined not more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days, for a second offense, be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days and, for a third or subsequent offense, be fined not less than five hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than six months or both. A first or second offense prosecution resulting in a conviction shall be reported by the magistrate or city recorder hearing the case to the communications and records division of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division which shall keep a record of such conviction so that any law enforcement agency may inquire into whether or not a defendant has a prior record. Only those offenses which occurred within a period of ten years, including and immediately preceding the date of the last offense, shall constitute prior offenses within the meaning of this section.
(B) The provisions contained in this section do not apply to law enforcement agencies.”
SECTION 2. Chapter 13, Title 17 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
“Section 17-13-180. (A) A law enforcement agency may not use an unmanned aerial vehicle, an unpiloted aerial vehicle, or a remotely piloted aerial vehicle to gather evidence or other information in this State without a legally issued search warrant pursuant to the provisions of this chapter or another provision of law. However, the provisions of this section do not prohibit the use of a drone:
(1) to counter a high risk of a terrorist attack by a specific individual or organization if the United States Secretary of Homeland Security determines that credible intelligence indicates that there is such a risk;
(2) if the law enforcement agency first obtains a search warrant signed by a judge authorizing the use of a drone; or
(3) if the law enforcement agency possesses reasonable suspicion that, under particular circumstances, swift action is needed to prevent imminent danger to life or serious damage to property, or to forestall the imminent escape of a suspect or the destruction of evidence.
(B) An aggrieved party may bring a civil action against a law enforcement agency to obtain appropriate relief in order to prevent or remedy a violation of this section.
(C) Evidence obtained or collected in violation of the provisions of this section is not admissible as evidence in a criminal prosecution in a court of law in this State.”
SECTION 3. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

H4425 – Drone Weaponization

A BILL
TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 16-3-1065 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT IT IS UNLAWFUL TO OPERATE AN UNPILOTED AERIAL VEHICLE THAT IS ARMED WITH A WEAPON, AND TO PROVIDE A PENALTY.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Article 11, Chapter 3, Title 16 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
“Section 16-3-1065. (A) It is unlawful for a person to operate an unmanned aerial vehicle, an unpiloted aerial vehicle, or a remotely piloted aerial vehicle that is armed with a weapon. A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned for not more than three years.
(B) This section does not apply to a law enforcement agency or a branch of the military.”
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

H4421 – Restricted Airspace & Registration

A BILL
TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 16-3-1065 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT IT IS UNLAWFUL TO OPERATE AN UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE, AN UNPILOTED AERIAL VEHICLE, OR A REMOTELY PILOTED AERIAL VEHICLE IN AN ILLEGAL AIRSPACE; TO PROVIDE THAT THE OWNER OF THESE VEHICLES MUST REGISTER THEM WITH THE AERONAUTICS COMMISSION, AND TO PROVIDE PENALTIES.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Article 11, Chapter 3, Title 16 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
“Section 16-3-1065. (A) A person who operates an unmanned aerial vehicle, an unpiloted aerial vehicle, or a remotely piloted aerial vehicle in an unlawful airspace is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned not more than thirty days.
(B) Before operating a vehicle described in subsection (A), its owner must register the vehicle with the Aeronautics Commission. A person who violates this provision is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days.”
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

NOAA Fisheries and Drone Use

NOAA Fisheries has released extensive information regarding the use of drones around marine life that should be taken into consideration due to certain guidelines.

FAQ on South Carolina Law and Drones

If you do not see your question, or an answer to it, listed below, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll gladly give you one.

Is a drone/UAS considered the same as a model aircraft?

The United States Congress has defined and concluded that a model aircraft is only considered a drone or a UAS when the following points are met:

It’s flown for recreational purposes or as a hobby and not for any business or commercial reasons
It’s flown within visible distance, meaning being able to see it at all times, of the individual operating it
It’s capable of sustaining flight within the atmosphere, meaning that it can fly

If your model aircraft, regardless of whether or not you acquired it pre-built or built it yourself, meets the above points to your knowledge, it’s considered a drone/UAS.

What is the Small UAS Rule?

The Small UAS Rule requires those who have unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, that weigh less than 55 pounds, payload included, to register their aircraft with the FAA. This only applies to recreational or hobby fliers and not commercial drone use, however.

Is the FAA’s Small UAS Rule still in effect?

Yes, it has been in effect from August 29th of 2016 and is still in effect at this time of writing.

Do I have to carry my Certificate of Aircraft Registration while flying my UAS at all times?

Yes, you must have the registration certificate from the FAA at all times during flight operation. In accordance with federal law, all UAS operators must show their certificate of registration to any local, state, or federal law enforcement officer when they are asked to do so.

What do I do for registration if my UAS is over the 55-pound limit?

If your UAS weighs more than 55 pounds, including payload, you will need to register it by clicking here.

sUAS Service Agreement

Drone Laws in South Carolina

Knowing the laws, regulations, restrictions, etc., regarding drones in your state is extremely important. Remember to educate yourself, follow the rules, fly safely and responsibly, and have fun!

There are 3 comments:

  • nick at 1:51 am

    Where you state “Unfortunately, Myrtle Beach is mostly out of the question because of a nearby airport,” is not a true statement. As long as you stay under 400 ft you can.

  • Lyle Hendrick at 10:14 pm

    I’m very glad to discover your site. I’m presenting an hour-long presentation on 11OCT19 during a state-wide private investigator fall conference. The title is: Using Drones for Investigative Purposes. I’m doing research now and would like any information you have on this and any related topics beyond what I have read here. Please send links ASAP. I look forward to hearing from you. v/r Lyle Hendrick

  • Thomas Olson at 4:39 am

    I’m given couple of different answers as to flying my drone at myrtle beach state beach! I want to use it to bring my fishing line out and drop my line so I don’t have to try and cast that far out! I’m asking how can I get the correct information about this!? Please advise! Thank you p/s drone weighing about 15 lbs

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