Automatic float device that is attached to your drone when flying over a water hazard to facilitate a water rescue


This is a demonstration of the DR9 unit in action.

But more importantly  The purpose is to show all the arm-chair experts that have  told you that electronics and water result in short circuiting are NOT  correct. 

It also shows what to do after a water event.

DJI Mavic Pro - Water Activation

Water Deployment Video of DJI Mavic Pro w/o camera.

DJI Phantom - Water Activation

Water Deployment Video DJI Phantom w/o camera.

Drone Retriever Videos

Activation Video showing a DRONE RETRIEVER dropped into water with activation time less than 1 second. Also shown is slow motion of same activation. 

Mavic Pro Platinum with Unit attached in flight

Showing flight stability and mounting


Water Recovery Device




  •   Description: Fishing Rod retrieval system. Device attached to fishing rod via Velcro strap. Recently rebranded for drone recovery.
  • Activates when fishing rod is submerged at bottom of water hazard.
  • Small plastic “bobber” floats to the surface.
  • Depth maximum of retrieval line is 100 feet
  • Weight capacity of line is 10 lbs
  • Product cost approximately $40.00


for DRONE Applications

  • Low Cost
  • Small
  • Easily Mounted
  • Lightweight
  • NO negative effect on flight duration and stability


for  DRONE Applications

  • ONLY activates at 10 feet below surface or greater!!! Thus if water is less than 10 feet it does not activate!!!
  • Allows drone to make contact with bottom, stirring up dirt and other matter that will contaminate moving parts.
  • By allowing drone to drop to bottom the negative effects of water pressure will effect sealed components like camera and motor seals.
  • Fishing rods usually are dropped within short distance of owner. Retrieving the floating “bobber” is easy. However a drone that is flying over a lake, a river or the ocean coastline will prove a challenge to locate the “bobber”. Once located positioning oneself above the drone to facilitate lifting straight up will be difficult.
  • Most water hazard do not have smooth bottoms. A drone that is caught on something will more likely require a pulling force greater than 10 lbs. NOTE: the line used is rated for 10 lbs.
  • In a water hazard with a current the “bobber” most likely will be a considerable distance from the device as the 100’ line will determine the location of the “bobber” not the drone.

Water landing Device




  • Description: A set of Foam cylinders attached via a mechanical mounting system designed to keep a drone floating at the surface of the water. 
  • Have not found any that are rated for retrieval in the event of a water event.
  • Passive activation as it is always in active protection mode.
  • Product Cost: approx $15 to 30 USD
  • Weight: approx 8 oz 227 g


for DRONE Applications 

  • · Low cost


for DRONE Applications 

  • Negative effect on stability due  to large size and the effect on drone from wind.
  • Negative effect on range as added battery energy will be needed to overcome effects of large pontoons wind      resistance
  • Do not appear to be structurally sound so as to survive a water crash. 
  • Mounting system is aircraft  specific. No universal mounting application.

Drone Retriever Device




  • Within 5 seconds of contacting water the device deploys a bright colored air bag buoy that keeps the drone at the surface while providing an easily identification that facilitates tracking and recovery of your drone.
  • Product Cost: <$80 USD
  • Product weight: 4.8oz/136g


for DRONE Applications  

  • Keeps drone at the surface such that negative effects of dirt and water pressure found at the bottom are eliminated
  • Moderate Cost
  • Universal mounting system that allows for quick and simple attachment when needed to any drone.
  • Reusable by replacing CO2 cylinder and trigger bobbin.
  • Lifting Capacity: 
    • 9 lb [4 kg]
    • 15 lb [6.8 kg] 
    • 18 lb [8.2 kg] "Early 2021"
  • No negative effect on stability as long as unit is attached so as not to negatively effect center of gravity of drone. (Mount in center of drone top or bottom)


 for DRONE Applications  

  • Range will be negatively impacted by additional weight of this device. It is difficult to project as flight time of your drone is effected by many factors including air density, air humidity, air temperature and wind. 



If for ANY reason you are not satisfied with your purchase during the first 100 days from the day we process your order you can return it for full refund.  Just follow these instructions.

  • Send email to  
  • In subject line type "SATISFACTION GUARANTEE  SS# XXXXXXX"   Where XXXXXXX is the Items serial number.
  • In the body of the email please provide your order information.  If your reason is a fit issue please provide information about your drone make and model number so that we can add your input to our compatibility list, so other potential drone customers will not have to experience the same disappointment.
  • Upon receipt of your request,  we will verify your order details and you will be provided an RMA number to facilitate return processing.
  • Ship your unit back.  Suggest using a method with tracking.  
  • Upon receipt you will receive your refund back to your PayPal account.
  • International orders refund does not cover original shipping.


Dimensions: Box: 83 mm x 40mm x 32mm

Cylinder Activator: 28mm Diam x 145mm long.

Weight added to drone:  4.8oz/136g

Activation time: < 5 seconds.

Maximum water lift capacity : 9lbs [4kg]


About ""

Our Background

  • Drone Retriever products are the invention of an avid drone pilot who has experienced water events in the past few years.  
  • After determining that there is no high quality product to retrieve a drone after a water event, he developed this product.  
  • The 2nd benefit to this device:  It virtually eliminates all the stress associated with flying a drone over water.
  • The Drone Retriever water recovery device is USA Patent Pending
  • We welcome any and all input to improve the design and add mounting hardware to facilitate easy mounting to all drones.
  • Summer of 2019 - The initial product offering that will lift and maintain a drone weighing up to 9 lbs (4Kg) at the surface.  
  • Fall/Winter of 2020- Introduce a Drone Retriever capable of lifting and maintaining a drone weighting 15  lbs (6.8Kg) at the surface.
  • Spring of 2021 - Introduce a Drone Retriever capable of lifting and maintaining a drone weighting 18 lbs ( 8.6Kg) at the surface

WILL "Drone-Retriever" Fit on My Drone?

If you have concerns about the DRONE RETRIEVER fitting on your drone we have these options to help


  • LIFTING CAPACITY: [Payload] Can my drone carry the weight of a DRONE RETRIEVER
  • DIMENSIONAL FIT: Is there a place on my drone that I can mount the DRONE RETRIEVER such that Center of Gravity is not adversely affected while maintaining clearance from propellers and camera gimbals movement.

    • Need to determine if your drone can handle the added weight of the DRONE RETRIEVER unit.
    • Do the manufacturer’s specifications list a payload weight? If that weight is less than that of the DRONE RETRIEVER (4.8 oz 136 g) If yes you are good to go. 
    • If no payload weight is given you need to determine the Take-Off weight of your drone. (From manufacturer’s specifications or by weighing the drone.
    • Small to medium low cost drones have little to no payload capacity and will not be compatible with DRONE RETRIEVER. Also these type of drones usually have rated flight times of <10 minutes.
    • Medium size drones and larger drones should have the ability to maintain steady controlled flight with the added weight of a DRONE RETRIEVER. 
    • Find something that is small and weighs 4.8oz - 136g attach it with tape and fly your drone.  Verify that your drone has no adverse flight effects.
    • Drone flight time will be reduced due to the added weight of the DRONE RETRIEVER. No other negative performance factors have been reported.

    • Simply put, can the DRONE RETRIEVER be mounted on my drone such that it does not negatively impact center of gravity, propeller operation, gimbals operation, and vision system sensors?
    • To facilitate this you can download a dimensional fold up [DR-Model-CUT-OUT.pdf] model which can be cut and folded to make a 3d space model of the DRONE RETRIEVER unit.
    • Or purchase a unit and determine Fit according to SATISFACTION GUARANTEE. 

What actually happens to a drone after a water event


This post is to educate and correct many incorrect assumptions made by individuals that don’t know about electricity as it relates to a drone making contact with water. products are designed for drone Rescue, NOT Recovery.

Rescue = save 

Recovery = retrieval 

Many people incorrectly assume that a drone that lands in water is destroyed due to the effects of electrical shorting. That is not the case and it will be explained below.

Additionally we will address what to do after a water event.

When a drone lands in salt water there are FIVE concerns a drone owner needs to be aware of:



Ocean water and lake/river water is not clean. There are many small particles of various organic and inorganic matter that will find its way into moving parts like motors, gimbals and fans. The biggest negative effect will occur if a drone sinks to the bottom where the point of impact will stir up everything at the bottom. Keeping a drone at the surface eliminates this issue.

As the drone sinks the water pressure will dramatically increase. This pressure will cause water and dirt to enter every microscopic opening as the air is forced out or compressed due to the increased water pressure.

Seals that are designed for normal operation will maintain their integrity when the drone is kept at the surface however this is not the case as depth increases. The greater the depth the greater the negative effects of pressure.

The pressure at the bottom combined with the stirred up dirt will facilitate the dirt being forced into smaller and smaller areas of the drone’s moving parts like motors, gimbals and cooling fans.

The effects of dirt is further addressed in the cleaning section below.


Salt water IS NOT an ACID it is a MILD corrosive liquid. 

Salt water or fresh water will not cause anything to electrically short out as the voltages within the drone electronics are too low to conduct through water. 

Circuit Boards:

Most products like drones that are designed to operate outdoors have their electronic circuit boards protected with a thin blanket conformal coating on the entire circuit board and then an extra thicker coat on the soldered connections. This clear conformal coating protects the electrical circuits from high humidity and condensation. Additionally it protects the electrical system from salt water.

When flying near a coastline or over water the air is usually very moist and salty. Keep in mind that most high quality drones are designed to operate in moist environments without any issues.  


The motors that operate the props are made with anodized aluminum housings and copper wires along with bushings and magnets. The anodizing process creates a protective coating on the surface of the aluminum. The motor is made with a copper wire which is also coated with a protective coating primarily to keep it from shorting as it is wound very tight. The motor is made with bushings at the top and bottom of the motor that allow it to spin freely. These parts are typically plastic and metal such that they do not need lubrication and are somewhat sealed. Finally the motor has magnets which typically are varnished coated.

The motors are well protected such that when a drone lands in salt water the various protective layers protect the motors from short term corrosion. Keeping the motors at the surface will eliminate the issue of dirt and sand getting into the motors between the moving parts


Most if not all drones operate with Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries. These batteries are constructed with multiple flat cells stacked on top of each other. Each cell is 3.7vDC. The battery cells are sealed in a plastic envelope. The only exposed metal parts from each cell are the leads. Most batteries consist of multiple cells connected in series and then sealed into an outer plastic envelop.  This battery assembly is then installed into a hard plastic housing which makes up the battery pack. Water cannot get into the individual batteries but can get into the battery pack. Inside the battery pack is usually a circuit board that is used to control charging and monitor each cells voltage and temperature. Battery packs are usually not sealed and may easily fill with water even if kept at the surface, but if allowed to sink to the bottom of the ocean then water impregnation into the battery pack circuitry will occur due to the higher external pressure.


The camera on a drone is a sealed unit which is required to keep it from experiencing condensation on the lens when moved from warm to cold environments or vice versa.

That seal is not designed to withstand the water pressure that would be found at the bottom of the ocean. However, if the drone is kept at the surface of the water the seals will be fine.


Gimbals are made with electromagnetic motors. Like regular motors the components used are similar to those used for the propeller motors, keeping these at the surface and not exposed to the water pressure and dirt at the bottom of the ocean will help them survive a water event.


If a drone is recovered within hours not days and Cleaned according to this procedure everything should be fine. If it takes days or weeks to recover the drone then the corrosive effects from salt water will be evident. 

If drone has been on the bottom even for a short time then cleaning the movable parts will be critical and may not be possible. 

Immediately upon removal from the water:

1. Remove the Battery & SD card.

2. DO NOT spin the props or move the gimbals.

3. You must keep your unit wet with salt water until you can get to a bucket or plastic bag of fresh water.

a. Reason is that when salt water dries it will leave a residue that will not come off without scrubbing. That residue will be corrosive over time and it will have a negative effect on performance.

4. Put all parts into bucket or plastic bag of fresh water and aggressively shake the parts while they are under water. While shaking ensure that you rotate the drone under water so that every internal surface of the drone points upward while shaking. Then removed from water and allow the water to drain while rotating the drone. This will insure that fresh water gets into every open air pocket inside the drone. Additionally it is recommended to do this with at least 2 buckets of fresh water. Second washing is needed to insure that all salt water has been diluted and removed.

5. Fill a spray bottle that will shoot a stream of liquid with fresh water. Use this spray system to clean the motors by spraying between the stationary and moving parts of the motor. After spraying slowly turn the prop motor while spraying. Do this also for the gimbals. Also spray the USB port and any other electrical connector ports. Suggest using a vacuum cleaner to suck any water out of these ports.

6. Battery Cleaning: Submerge battery and look for a point where air bubbles rise from an edge. Mark that edge. Turn battery such that the edge with bubbles is pointing downward and look for bubbles on the now top edge. Mark that edge. Submerge the battery holding it so that either surface with bubbles is pointing up and hold in that position until no bubbles are seen (battery housing is full of water). Shake battery then drain from either edge that had bubbles coming from it.  Repeat filling and draining procedure.

7. Using the spray bottle clean the battery contacts. 

8. Drying.

Method #1: Heat your kitchen electric oven to 100°F (37.8°C) place drone in oven for several hours. Turn the drone so that all surfaces point upward. Battery will take much longer (days) to dry due to the relatively sealed nature of the battery housing. It is recommended to retire this battery for several months finding a place where the battery will be kept warm to facilitate thorough drying. You can discharge and recharge the battery which will assist in drying. 

Method #2: Procure enough Isopropyl  or Methanol Alcohol 99.9% about 4 quarts and submerge the drone in the alcohol rotating the drone so that every internal surface becomes wet. Remove and let alcohol drain from the drone. The drone will quickly evaporate the alcohol if placed in a warm environment. As for the battery you will need to fill the battery with alcohol and then drain it. Heat an electric oven like Method #1 and place the battery in that oven with the fill edge pointing up. Allow it to heat for 2-4 hours to evaporate the alcohol.

Batteries from a water event should not be used until it can be determine that the battery charges and discharges safely.  


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