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Flying a drone on Bonaire.

It is now very popular to use a drone to do aerial photography these days, especially on Bonaire, where the sweeping vistas enhance the images or video.  However, Bonaire’s Office of the Public Prosecutor recently reminded drone users of the important regulations in place when flying a drone on Bonaire.

Always be sure to ask if a drone may be used (for example, drones are prohibited in Washington-Slagbaai National Park, in the Flamingo Sanctuary at Cargill, and in other areas where drone flights may disrupt the natural behaviors of birds or other fauna).

Follow local regulations when flying a drone on Bonaire.

Be sure to follow these regulations when flying a drone for pleasure (non-commercial) on Bonaire:

  • The drone cannot weigh more than 25 kilos (55 pounds)
  • The drone cannot fly higher than 120 meters (410 feet) above either land or the water
  • The drone cannot be flown over a crowd of people or over construction sites
  • The drone may not be flown at night
  • The drone operator must be able to keep the drone in sight at all times
  • It is expressly prohibited to fly a drone in the area of either civil or military airports (Flamingo Airport)
  • The drone must always give right of way to planes or helicopters
  • It is allowed to photograph or shoot video from the drone, but all privacy laws must be respected.

If the drone operator does not comply with these regulations, the drone can be confiscated, and the operator risks not only a penalty but also detention.  If a bystander is injured by a drone during flight, the victim can hold the drone operator responsible, and damages and penalties can be quite high. Third-party liability policies may not necessarily cover damage by drones, so it is best for the drone operator to fly safely.

Drone flights for commercial purposes.

In the case of commercial drone flights for use in business, a permit is required and different rules apply.

(Source:  Openbaar Ministerie)

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Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 



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