Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in Jamaica
Drone Regulator in Jamaica: Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA)
Online link to Jamaica Drone regulations: Jamaica Operations of Unmanned Aircraft Regulations FSN – Gn-2015-R3 Revised January 28, 2020
UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Jamaica
The Jamaican agency responsible for drone safety, JCAA, has provided several internet-accessible details on flying for fun or work. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details, go to the link above.
Are drones legal in Jamaica?
JCAA states that drone use is allowed in Jamaica, subject to JCAA regulations. Read on for more details.
Here are the most important rules to know for flying a drone in Jamaica:
JCAA issues guidelines to two categories of operators:
- Recreational UAV operators or Hobbyists – i.e., persons who operate model aircraft or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for recreational purposes (see Hobbyist section below for specific guidelines).
- Professional (commercial & non-commercial) operators – i.e., persons or companies which operate Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for non-recreational purposes, including business-related activities such as, but not limited to, aerial photography, surveillance, geometric surveys, power line inspections, crop observations
and research and development (see the Commercial section below for specific guidelines).
Flights must be conducted:
- within the operator’s visual line of sight (VLOS)
- clear of all visual obstructions, including clouds, buildings, hills, etc.
- without a first-person view device
- safely and without recklessness
- at safe distances away from all obstacles
Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Jamaica
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles shall not be operated:
- at a height exceeding 400 feet (122 meters) above ground level
- beyond a maximum range of 1640 feet (500 meters)
- at a distance beyond the unaided visual range of the operator(s) of the aircraft
- using a First Person View (FPV) or computer-aided visual of the UAV
- over or within 500 feet (152 meters) of an organized open-air assembly of people
- Over or within 165 feet (50 meters) of any person. However, during take-off and landing, the aircraft may be flown within 165 feet (50 meters), but no less than 100 feet (30 meters) of any person. These stipulations do not apply to the person in control of the aircraft.
- over private or public property or dwelling without prior permission
- within 16,500 feet (5,000 meters) of any aerodrome or rotorcraft designated landing zones, such as helipads
- if not equipped with fail-safe mechanisms that will cause the aircraft to land in the event of a loss of radio control communications and the person in charge of the aircraft has been satisfied that the mechanisms are in good working order before flight
- if the aircraft has not been verified as being able to complete its intended flight, taking into consideration the payload, wind, and propulsive power availability for the duration of the flight
- autonomously or on pre-programmed automatic flights
- at night or during low visibility conditions
- to drop or discharge any items to the ground
- within or over restricted or prohibited airspace.
Notes for operating Commercial Drone Services in Jamaica
The JCAA considers the following in a Professional Category similar to Commercial Use elsewhere.
- Professional (commercial & non-commercial) operators – i.e., persons or companies which operate Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for non-recreational purposes, including business-related activities such as, but not limited to, aerial photography, surveillance, geometric surveys, power line inspections, crop observations, and research and development.
All professional operators must apply to the JCAA for a Special Aerial Work Permit before each flight.
All Drone operators in this category must:
- Apply to the JCAA in writing for approval, providing all details of the intended operation.
- Do not fly the aircraft unless the Authority has received written permission stating any applicable restrictions or conditions. Having received approval, the professional operator must observe and comply with all the conditions included in the permit to exercise the authority provided to operate a UAV.
Note: Applications for restricted airspace require a minimum of one month’s notice as approvals are required from the specific airspace managers.
Useful published information on flying drones in Jamaica
Here is a sample of what you might expect if you follow the drone laws and fly in Jamaica…
NOTE: Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS), Small UAS, Remote Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), and drone are interchangeable terms unless specified. Model Aircraft, toy, remote-controlled, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.
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9 thoughts on “Drone Laws in Jamaica”
Question, for persons who are into Videography and Photography are you required to request a Permit from JCAA every single time you are prepared to fly??…If that’s the case it would be almost impossible to do so because most videos and photography sessions are booked on short notice so I am kind of confused as to how you can work efficiently while maintaining a friendly relationship with the law. Looking forward to a response soon thank you.
A friend was flying a drone in the Forum Beach area of Portmore, It was suddenly felled by what we suspect was by electronic means. Is this a restricted area ? or would JDF do this ? They apparently have a base nearby !
Randy, it’s hard to tell. Some consumer drones have catastrophic bug failures that are hard to distinguish from electronic interference.
I am harassed daily by persons in my neighborhood who operate drones and invade my privacy. I reported it to the police but it has worsened. Is there an entity that monitors our air space for harassing drones that this could be reported to?
Sherna, we are sorry to hear of your harassment by drone operators. You should report each incident to your local law enforcement, and also contact the regulator
I also have a neighbor who constantly flies his drone over my property and other members of the community’s property. He hovers his drone over our houses for long period of time and even close to our windows. My mom called the police and they said it’s not illegal for him to do this. The police also stated that more members of the community need to report it before the can attempt to do anything. This is invading our privacy and it feels like there’s no law to protect us against this sort of activity.
Sorry to hear about your experience Rackel. Sometimes there are local privacy/nuisance laws that can limit this kind of beahvior. Keep in touch with your local law enforcement.
I have a neighbour who constantly flies his drone around my property. I feel violated when he does this, what can I do to stop this?
Speak with your local law enforcement team