Strict rules emplaced for operating drones

Drone owners on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba are reminded to adhere to the rules when operating drones on these islands. Violating these rules, a drone pilot risk being fined, confiscation of the drone or jail time.

This reminder comes after a recent verdict on Bonaire, where a drone pilot received a conditional sentence with 1-year probation for illegally flying the drone over the prison on Bonaire. Operating drones as a hobby is increasing in popularity, therefore the Public Prosecutor’s Office would like to outline the rules for this practice.

 The drone should not be heavier than 25 kilos.  The drone is prohibited from being flown more than 120 meters above the ground or sea.  The drone is prohibited from being flown above a crowd of people and over ongoing construction.  The drone should not be flown in the dark.  While in flight the drone must remain visible at all times.  The drone is prohibited from being flown in the vicinity of the air traffic control tower of a public or military airport.  When operating the drone always give priority to planes and helicopters.  It is allowed to take photos and video recordings with the drone, provided the privacy law is respected.

In the event that a bystander is injured by a drone in flight, the victim can hold the drone operator liable. The payments in damages can be very high and not every third-party insurance covers damage caused by the drone. Therefore drone operators are advised to be vigilant.

Furthermore a permit is required when drones are being used for business purposes and different rules apply.