Recovering Your Drone From a Salt Water – Complete Guide

Recovering Drone From Salt Water

You must know that landing a drone on fresh water is way better than landing in salt water. You’re drone probably isn’t waterproof and salt water is worse than fresh water. Drone has the external parts that can be damaged badly if this happens. You must remain calm! Remember, what was done was done. You must hope for the best, and expect the worst. The first rule that you need to apply in this case is to immediately remove the battery and poured fresh water over the drone and the battery terminals.

After you remove the battery, the next step is to stop the corrosive action which is caused by salt water. What I would advise you is to rinsing the drone in rubbing alcohol that you can buy in some drug store. Rubbing alcohol absorbs water, so this is very useful to remove the water from your drone, because alcohol is less bad unlike water. After all this you will definitely need to disassemble the case of your drone. Then to dry your drone you have to put it to the fireplace, not over 43 C (110 F).

Steps to Neutralize Salt Water On Your Drone:
1. Turn off the power source, open your drone, remove all wires and anything that is attached to main board.
2. Take a soft, bristled brush, which is coated with isopropyl alcohol, and gently scrub.
3. Repeat this process until the residue is gone.
4. Once you clean the board, set to the side to dry.
5. Clean every wire and cable that was removed and pay attention to the connectors.
6. After you clean the board and wires, use de-ionized water to rinse off the alcohol.
7. Wait for all parts to dry, then reassemble all components.

These was the detailed procedure on how you can save your drone if he lands on the salt water, but if your drone lands on normal water, the procedure is much simpler. I wrote a separate article on How to Fix a Water Damaged Drone As I said, the procedure is different because you do not have a salt, which greatly facilitates the procedure. You have to know that water is very dangerous for electronics boards, so try to avoid flying near water if you do not have to.

How Dangerous Is Salt Water For Drones?

Yes I know that flying over water is tempting, I have done it a loot of times. But if you have the choice, avoid crashing in salt water! Salt water have all sorts of nasty chemicals that will cause corrosion. The first thing you need to do when your drone fall into salt water is to take fresh water and wash it with fresh water!

The better option than fresh water is to use distilled (de-ionized) water, if you have it. If you open the drone after falling into salt water, you will see small salt particles. Salt water is just the devil for any electronics.

You also must remove the battery immediately and poured fresh water over the battery terminals. After you have washed the drone with fresh or distilled water, put it in a rice bowl and follow the instructions given above in the text. Salt water will kill your drone in a long run. If the drone fall into salt water for a few minutes, it most likely means that there is no salvation for the electronics inside it.

How Salt Water Affects Electronics In Your Drone

Salt water is without a doubt dangerous to electronics. It is very unforgiving and it is pretty much an electronic killer. This is due to the NaCI (Sodium chloride) creating a chemical bond with many surfaces and these bonds happen immediately. While on the other hand, pure water will not destroy electronic devices, neither when the device is turn ON nor when it is turn OFF. If your device is on, there are circuits with electricity flowing  and clearly and adding a salt water could also short circuit your device as well.

3 Main Things To Know About Salt Water

  • What are the effects of salt water on electronics
  • How salt water damages electronics
  • How to clean off salt water residue

What To Do When Your Drone is no Longer Functional?

So many devices today are on the market, and with all those electronic equipment which they contain, it’s normal that retailers and buyers have their hands full. So if it turns out that your drone is completely dysfunctional, there is another thing you can do. You could put it on ebay and sell some parts who are saved. But you can also buy it from ebay if you estimate it is profitable to replace some part for your drone and make it functional again. 

You can always find a couple of ways to get rid of electronic parts on your drone, because there are multiple ways you can sell these components and turn it into cash So when that black scenario happens, you can alleviate it in this way.

Related Article: How To Fly Safely With a Drone Over Water

Check Your Warranty

If you find yourself in a situation that you still have a warranty for your drone, proceed wisely. Before using warranty for your drone, make sure you dry your drone first until you can send it to the supplier. An important thing you should not do is to unscrew the top of your drone, or any other part of the drone, because you will invalidate the warranty.

Also if there is some suspicion that your crash happened because of a fault, they will be able to look at your drone’s flight logs to see what actually happened. There are 2 cases when it comes to warranty: the supplier must evaluate whether the failure was due to the product failure or pilot error. If they estimate that drone was in the water, then they will undo the warranty and you will have to bear the costs for your drone.


This applies to cases when you have no longer the warranty for your drone or the warranty is expired. First thing you could try is to take apart your drone and start drying everything inside thoroughly and individually. Each case is different, therefore, you must first view the components. The problem that can complicate this is that damage caused by water is not always visible. Also you need to remember is that you do not try to turn your drone on too soon.

You will not always get clouds of smoke and figure out what the problem is, when you turn your drone on. So remember not to take any chances until you’re absolutely sure that your drone is completely dry. It would also be desirable if you are not an expert related to electronics and chips and it’s hard for you to diagnose the problem to get help from your retailer or friend before you start opening up your drone.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments