Can You Fly a Drone in Nassau, Bahamas?
As the capital of the Bahamas, Nassau is a major interest point.
Located on New Providence, the island has beaches, coral reefs, bright-hued colonial buildings, and so much more.
If you’re enamored by its charm, you might wonder, can you fly a drone in Nassau, Bahamas?
You can fly a drone in Nassau, Bahamas, but you must have a permit and drone insurance before your trip. You’re also expected to follow Civil Aviation Authority Bahamas rules when operating your UAV.
In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know to fly a drone in Nassau. There’s lots of great information to come, so make sure you don’t miss it!
Can you fly a drone in Nassau, Bahamas?
The island paradise of Nassau holds many treasures, from beaches to conservation centers, national parks, museums, and art galleries. It’s a bright, colorful, tropical place that you’d love to explore via drone.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority Bahamas, the governing aviation authority in the country, drones are allowed in Nassau and throughout the rest of the Bahamas.
However, you must pass customs and have a permit.
You’re also required to obtain drone insurance and an active drone registration, but we’ll talk more about all that in the next section. Make sure you check it out.
Even with permission, you still can’t fly everywhere on the island.
For example, you can’t operate your drone within five miles of an airport. Nassau’s airports are the Lynden Pindling International Airport and the North Eleuthera Airport.
You should also avoid military airbases. For both those bases and airports, you cannot fly your drone any closer than five miles.
To ensure you fly within permitted airspace, especially when traveling to a new country, it’s always wise to use a drone mapping app on your phone.
If you see any restricted zones, including temporary restrictions, refrain from flying.
You don’t want to get fined or have your drone confiscated!
All the requirements for flying a drone in Nassau, Bahamas
You’re glad to learn you can achieve your dream of flying a drone in Nassau.
Before you begin making travel plans, make sure you have your affairs in order, as you need to do a lot of prep work!
Getting through customs
Passing customs with a drone into the Bahamas requires you to first register your UAV.
If you skip this step, the Bahamas Customs Department could take your drone. You’d get it back when you register it.
You’ll have to pay for your drone to pass customs, and the fee varies.
Customs will assess your drone make and model to determine its worth. Then you’ll have to pay a deposit that’s 50 percent of that value.
Before you finish passing through customs, you’ll receive a receipt of your payment.
Hold onto this receipt, as it’s part of the proof that you’re allowed to use your drone in Nassau and other parts of the Bahamas.
Further, you can get your deposit refunded after your Bahamas getaway, but only if you have the receipt.
By the way, you can register your drone with the FAA in the United States and take it into the Bahamas.
You don’t have to register it separately in the Bahamas if your drone has an active registration.
To register your drone, you need liability insurance, a valid photo ID such as a driver’s license, and a certificate of registration.
Obtaining a drone permit
That’s not all. The CAAB also requires you to obtain a permit. This rule applies to recreational and commercial pilots alike.
You can reach out to the Safety Oversight Department’s Aviation Safety Instructor to get the permitting process started.
The Aviation Safety Instructor will send you the requisite paperwork, which you must then fill out and send back.
In the paperwork, you’ll have to include a copy of your drone registration (whether it’s through CAAB or the FAA), your drone serial number, the make and model, the dates you plan on visiting Nassau, and where you want to use your drone.
The Aviation Safety Instructor will go over your application upon receiving it.
If you’re approved, you’ll get a letter of issuance. This letter authorizes you to fly a drone in the Bahamas for the next 30 days.
In the letter of issuance, you’ll also find guidelines and rules for operating your drone. Make sure you follow those rules!
You’ll need your permit to get through customs, so apply for it in advance of your Bahamas getaway so you have everything ready to go in time.
Insuring your drone
Nope, you’re still not totally done yet. You also have to insure your drone before operating it in the Bahamas.
While usually, it’s only commercial pilots who have to insure their UAVs, if taking a drone to the Bahamas, even hobbyists aren’t exempt.
Your third-party insurance protects against liabilities. The CAAB must approve the claim limits based on your perceived flight risk.
You’ll need proof of insurance to obtain a permit.
Nassau drone flight rules to know
Is your trip to Nassau in the books? Here’s some reading material to brush up on before your flight to the Bahamas.
We’re talking drone rules, of course!
Avoid flying in poor visibility
In inclement weather such as rain or fog, you cannot legally fly your drone in Nassau. That also goes for any other conditions that affect your visibility.
You went through all the trouble of getting your drone registered, permitted, and passed through customs, so don’t risk losing it by flying it in poor weather!
Do not use your drone at night
You’ll have to plan your daily itinerary carefully when visiting the Bahamas. After dark, you’re prohibited from flying per CAAB rules.
Keep your drone away from private property
Unless you have the property owner’s permission, and ideally written permission at that, you cannot fly your drone over private property.
As incentivizing and pretty as those colorful buildings throughout Nassau are, you must stay away.
Stay within 400 feet when flying
If you’re a seasoned drone pro, you know that you can’t fly higher than 400 feet in most countries.
That’s also the case for the Bahamas, so watch your distance when you take your drone out.
Keep 150 meters from crowded areas
To protect the safety and privacy of its citizens, Bahamas drone law bans drone pilots from flying within 150 meters or 492 feet of crowded areas.
What constitutes a crowded area isn’t clear in the rules, but you can use your own judgment and discretion.
You should avoid beaches, art museums, festivals and events, and other types of gatherings that attract a crowd when you see people around.
Of course, you can use your drone around these places, but during off-peak hours.
Don’t fly within 50 feet of a building or person
What about flying over individuals? Bahamian drone law prohibits pilots from veering closer than 50 feet of any person.
Remember that you’re not in the US anymore, so the FAA’s Operations over People leniencies would not apply.
You also cannot use your drone within 50 feet of a building.
As the island country’s capital, Nassau, Bahamas attracts huge crowds, drone pilots among them. You can legally operate your drone in this country but must register it first.
You must also obtain liability insurance and pay a fee to get through customs. If you use your drone safely, you’ll have your deposit returned to you at the end of your trip.
Don’t forget to contact CAAB and obtain your drone permit!
Once you’ve taken care of all those steps, you can enjoy breathtaking sights and stunning vistas with your drone.
Remember to follow CAAB rules and limit your distance around people and structures. Have fun!
FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Test Prep
Peltier has quite the experience, making him qualified to teach about photography and drones in separate courses. He was a part of the U.S. Air Force as an F-15E flight instructor for a decade.
1. Safety Oversight Department (link)