BRADENTON, FL (WFLA) — There will be a no-drone zone in Bradenton this Saturday for the River Regatta.
Thousands of people will crowd the Riverwalk for speedboats, concerts and fireworks. But officials are worried these drones could potentially be dangerous.
During the event, an expected crowd of 100,000 will be focused on the water watching some of the fastest boats in the country. But police officers, sheriff’s deputies, even FBI agents will be focused on the skies, making sure there are no drones. Quadcopters are prohibited from the event.
The Senior Vice president of ISM USA, Michael Dongilli explained, “Really, there’s two reasons- interference and safety.”
Dongilli says while the race is going on, helicopters will be flying overhead, looking out for manatees. Officials don’t want those drones interfering with the pilots. “It could be dangerous. You just don’t know who’s behind the controls…[drones] right now are a little bit unpredictable. Anybody can be basically flying them from just about anywhere.”
“It could be dangerous,” he said. “You just don’t know who’s behind the controls…[drones] right now are a little bit unpredictable. Anybody can be basically flying them from just about anywhere.”
Also, officials don’t want any drones near the competitors on the water. “You have the fastest racing boats in the world that are racing within a confined area,” said Dongilli.
“You have the fastest racing boats in the world that are racing within a confined area,” said Dongilli.
So if a drone is spotted, officials will stop the event until it’s removed.
For professional photographers like Jack Elka, these amateurs are getting in the way. Elka said, “You can hit the stick, they go up, but controlling it and getting it back down is something else altogether.”
But he agrees banning drones at large events is a good idea. Elka said, “You have to know what you’re doing, and there’s no instructions, there’s no place to go to learn how to do this you just have to learn on your own.”
With this rule, officials would rather be safe than sorry.
The regatta is fun for the whole family, complete with concerts, exhibitions, performances, a 5K race and of course, the boat races. It starts at 10 a.m. and will end with fireworks at 6:45 p.m., and it’s free for the whole family.
Originally published at wfla.com on February 4, 2016.