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Do seaplanes have to land in particular places or are they allowed to land pretty much anywhere there is room to land safely?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Taken from seaplanes.org:

While most pilots assume the FAA has jurisdiction over landing areas, including water-based landing areas, the truth is much more complex. Jurisdiction rests with the person or organization that "owns" the waterway. This may be a Federal or state agency, a local government, a private corporation, or an individual. Determining who controls a waterway is the first step in determining whether it is legal to land on that body of water.

A second complication enters in the picture with overriding jurisdictions, most commonly state-imposed seaplane base licensing requirements. In several states, notably Ohio, New Jersey and Indiana, seaplanes may not land unless the proposed landing area is certified as a seaplane base, regardless of whether the waterway owner provides permission or not. To determine whether this is an issue in your area, call your state aeronautics office (often a division of the state department of transportation), check the Water Landing Directory, or call SPA Headquarters (863/701-7979).

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As to WHERE on the body of water you're allowed to land, I have no clue. Interesting question, though. – John Manly May 12 '14 at 19:56
Huh, yeah, that would make it especially hard to figure out landing on a river like, say, the Mississippi (which is what I was thinking of), the particular part of the river I want to land on is between Illinois and Iowa... I guess I just have to carefully pick a side and call that state...for starters. – Jay Carr May 12 '14 at 20:03

From what i understand yes.

They land on waterways

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