Drone regulations in the Bahamas

Flying drones in the Bahamas

In this post, you will find the current rules for the use of drones in the Bahamas.

To enter the Bahamas with a drone, you must first obtain permission from the Civil Aviation Authority, whether you fly privately or commercially. Otherwise, your multicopter will be withheld upon entry. You can download the form for registration here. You can send your application to [email protected]. The authority needs the following information from you:   

  • Dates of your visit
  • Area(s) of your planned drone flights
  • Are the flights private or commercial?
  • Make, model, serial number of your drone
  • Copy of your Certificate of Registration in your home country (if applicable)

You will then receive your approval via email and should always carry it with you. It is valid for 30 days and may include conditions such as safety disctances that are slightly different from those in the law (described below).

Upon entry, you may have to deposit 50% of the value of the drone as a pledge. Upon departure, you will receive the full amount back.

From a take-off weight of 15 kilograms, the copter must be marked. The Bahamas Civil Aviation (BCAA) assigns a badge for such aircrafts.

Overview: Drone rules in Bahamas

Recreational use of drones allowed? Yes, after registration or approval
Commercial use of drones permitted? Yes, after registration or approval
Maximum Altitude:400 Foot (121,9 Meter) in uncontrolled airspace.
Is drone insurance mandatory? Yes, for private and commercial drone flights. Learn more about drone insurance here.
Does the drone need a badge?Yes.
Drone labels can be ordered here
Is a registration necessary? Yes.
Keep distance to airports
Respect the privacy of other people
Contact information

All inquiries: [email protected]

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Further rules for drone pilots in the Bahamas

During flights, there must always be one person who has direct visual contact with the drone. For FPV flights, this task can be taken over by a second person in direct contact with the pilot.

Drones up to a weight of 15 kilograms can be flown for private purposes. The CAA must give permission for heavier unmanned aerial vehicles (up to a maximum of 25 kilograms). For this, a certificate of airworthiness has to be submitted and a theoretical and practical test must be completed.

During your drone operations, you must always be able to show your passport or identity card.

Safety distances and flight bans

Drones must not approach airports closer than 8 kilometers. To persons, a horizontal distance of 50 feet (15 meters) and a vertical distance of 100 feet (30 meters) must be ensured. Flying over people is only allowed if they have given their prior consent. Crowds generally cannot be overflown. It is required to obtain permission from landowners if their area is to be overflown.

The use of drones in nature reserves is prohibited. You will have to apply for the appropriate permits for these areas.

Drone operations at night under the open sky are not permitted. However, there is one exception if the drone flies within 100 meters of structures (buildings, trees, etc.) and deeper than the highest point of these structures. The authorities assume that a collision with other flying objects is unlikely in those areas.

Flights in bad weather conditions are not allowed. This means that the visibility must be more than one mile (1.6 kilometers) and that the cloud edge must be higher than 500 feet (152 meters) above the ground. The operation of drones in foggy weather is not allowed.

Regulations for commercial pilots

Commercial pilots in the Bahamas need an “RPA Operator Certificate.” We were told that our German permit would be accepted. We have not tried that yet because we do not have a fixed travel date for the Bahamas so far. In addition to the application, there seem to be several other requirements. You can read about them in the legal text.

We have researched the listed drone regulations for the Bahamas to the best of our knowledge. We can not guarantee the correctness of the information. If you want to be on the safe side, please contact the competent aviation authority. Alternatively, you can also ask the embassy in your country for further information about the regulations. Please leave us a comment when you receive news and/or gain experience with your copter in the Bahamas!

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About the author

Since January 2015, we travel around the world. In our backpack we carry a camera drone which we use to capture the best places from a bird’s perspective. First we travelled with a DJI Phantom 2. But now we use a Yuneec Typhoon H. On our blog we share the best tips for you about travelling with a copter. If you have questions about this article or new information, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment!

Discussions

  • Tiahnne | 10.03.2018

    Hi,

    My partner and I are travelling from Australia to the Bahamas. We have a DJI Spark that we are taking. What exactly do i need to do here? Do i need to register it in the Bahamas? If so…how do i do that?

    Thankyou for your help

    • Jason | 25.03.2018

      Bcaa.gov.bs and register

  • Emily | 08.05.2018

    I’m just in the planning stages of a trip to Bahamas. I started my application as I was curious if it costs anything for the registration. Do you know if there is a fee?

    • Francis Markert | 29.06.2018

      Hello Emily,
      I haven’t heard that a fee applies for the process.

  • Arill | 30.06.2018

    What insurance do you use when you fly in the Bahamas?

    Also, is there a Bahamas version of skyvector.com that would allow me to view the type of airspace and any flight restrictions? If not, do you have any recommendations?

  • Christopher Dutton | 12.08.2018

    We are visiting Grand Bahama on a cruise for the day. Do you know if the cruise security will ask for 50%?

    • Zoltán | 22.08.2018

      I am also planning my vacation to the Bahamas in September. But honestly I am hesitating if I should bring my drone or not. Upon entry there is a chance that you have to pay a deposit for your drone which is 50% of the value . Theoretically you will get it back when you are leaving. BUT it can be only cash… I don’t have to much faith in that you ever get it back.
      If you find something, let me know

  • Dave | 05.09.2018

    Before attempting to fly as a hobbyist in the Bahamas, I highly suggest downloading Schedule 27 (http://www.bcaa.gov.bs/public/downloads/schedules/new/Schedule27.pdf)
    and reading through it. Along with the items noted on this blog, there are several other requirements/restrictions. For example, flight in Class A, B, C, D, E and F airspace is prohibited along with in Danger, Prohibited, Restricted, and Wildlife protection areas.
    If you intend to fly for compensation…be ready for a long and painful process. It is similar to the FAA’s Certificate of Authorization or Waiver process and will require a ton of work. It also requires a knowledge and skill test, safety program, risk assessment, flight operations manuals, checklists, maintenance manual/program/logs, and a bunch of other stuff. You’ll find the applicable requirements in Schedule 11 (http://www.bcaa.gov.bs/public/downloads/schedules/new/Schedule11.pdf)
    I’m going through through this process now for a training event with the University of the Bahamas.

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