Drone regulations 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.
You can register online using this form. There you enter your contact details as well as information about your drone (make, model, serial number, weight). Afterward you will be contacted by email and asked for further details:
- Are the flights private or commercial?
- Dates of your visit
- Location(s) of your planned drone flights
- Copy of your registration certificate in your home country (if applicable)
Once you have submitted all the necessary data, you will receive your permit via email. The processing time is listed as up to five working days. You should always carry the permit with you. It is valid for 30 days from the date of issue and may contain safety distance requirements that differ slightly from those in the law (described below).
As a commercial pilot, you must fill out another form and pay a fee upon entry. This is not required for private pilots, but customs, as an independent authority, may charge additional fees. For example, you may have to deposit 50% of the value of the goods (cash). When you leave the country, you will get 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 aircraft.
Overview: Drone rules in Bahamas
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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!