Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas
UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in the Bahamas
The Bahamas agency responsible for drone safety, BCAA, has provided a number of internet-accessible details on flying for fun or work. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details go to the link above.
Are drones allowed in the Bahamas?
Here are the most important rules to know for flying a drone in the Bahamas
- All drone operations in the Bahamas require a permit.
- To fly a drone in the Bahamas, you must register it.
- Avoid flying within 50 feet of any person, structure, or vehicle that is not directly associated with the drone’s operation.
- Avoid flying over or within 150 meters of any densely populated or congested area.
- Fly no higher than 400 feet.
- Avoid flying within a 5-nautical-mile radius of any airport.
- Do not fly over private property without the owner’s permission.
- Avoid flying over military installations, nature reserves, or areas designated as “drone-free zones.”
- Avoid flying at night or in inclement weather with low visibility.
Permit Requirements for Flying a Drone in the Bahamas
Permits are required for all drone operations in the Bahamas, whether recreational or commercial.
If you’re planning a trip to the Bahamas and need a permit to fly your drone, contact the BCAA for all the necessary paperwork.
You must supply the following information:
- Your visit’s dates
- Area(s) in which you intend to fly your drone
- Are the flights commercial or private?
- Your drone’s make, model, and serial number
- Copies of your home country’s registration certificate (if applicable)
Following approval, you will receive an email containing an official letter of issuance that contains detailed rules and regulations and is valid for 30 days. Once you have received your authorization letter, keep it with you to present to customs.
Customs Requirements for Flying a Drone in the Bahamas
Along with the registration process, the drone’s value will be determined by customs upon entry.
A cash deposit equal to 50% of the drone’s appraised value is required upon arrival in the country. Customs will print a receipt that serves as evidence that you are permitted to fly your drone. Your deposit will be fully refunded upon departure.
The Certificate of Registration
To legally fly a Remotely Piloted Vehicle in the Bahamas, you must obtain a Certificate of Registration from the Civil Aviation Department if you do not already have one with the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States.
You’ll want to review the (extensive) rules governing the operation of a drone, which are contained in Civil Aviation Safety Regulations Schedule 27: Unmanned and Remotely Piloted Aircraft.
Among the requirements, you must possess the following:
- Valid photo identification (a driver’s license or passport issued in the United States is acceptable).
- Your Certificate of Registration Liability Insurance issued by the Bahamas (or the United States) (in an amount appropriate for your use).
- You can use the BCAA online registration link to register
Which zones are UAS operations banned?
The operator or pilot of a UAS shall not operate the UAS into the following airspace:
- controlled airspace (Classes A, B, C, D, E, and F);
- danger areas (except for an area designated explicitly for unmanned aircraft usage);
- prohibited areas;
- restricted areas; and
- wildlife protection areas.
Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in the Bahamas
See general rules above.
Notes for Commercial Drone Services operations in the Bahamas
The Minister must approve commercial flights (as well as compensation or aerial work).
A visual line of sight is required.
Please note numerous additional restrictions apply if the drone weighs more than 15 kg (33 lbs). Contact BCAA for more details.
See general rules above.
Useful published information on flying drones in the Bahamas
Here is a sample of what you might expect if you follow the drone laws and fly in the Bahamas…
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 aircraft, Remote controlled aircraft, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.
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