View Full Version : "DRONES" above Bonaire

10-01-2014, 12:00 PM
Hi all... This is my first post on this forum...

Yep!!! "DRONES" above Bonaire! I actually don't like this name calling for the purpose of these Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS's). It gives a negative feeling (spying, bombing etc.).
Some time ago I bought myself one too and made some test flights around my house, soccer fields and other open spaces. Afterwards I shot a small movie above and around "1000 Steps" (http://youtu.be/UBOurfJwcNg).

A little did I know that it was actually completely forbidden to fly these UAS's on Bonaire. That was a big bummer for me to hear that!!! So I contacted the safety department of BIA and asked them what I could do to continue my new hobby. They replied by saying to contact the "Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Milieu". After 3 months of correspondence (explaining and confirming that right now it's still indeed completely forbidden to fly above Bonaire with UAS's) they asked me to contact the local authorities to ask them to make it negotiable in the Bonaire Island Counsel. So I wrote our new Lieutenant Governor, Mr. Rijna, and deputy Mr. Kroon in the hope that there will be some action in setting up some regulations using UAS's on Bonaire. This morning I received a confirmation from Mr. Rijna that my letter has been received and will be processed. I hope that the Island Counsel will discuss this in a very near future meeting. For now my "bird" is safely in her "cage" waiting patiently to spread her wings again.

I brought up in the letter that using UAS's could not only be used safely for fun but it could also be used for other purposes like: Police and Fire department, education (future innovations in use for UAS's), realtors, developers, surveyors, journalists (press), tourism (see the beauty of Bonaire from the air), etc. So there is a social importance here using UAS's.

I also like to ask those (residents, non-residents and tourists) who are flying UAS's on Bonaire; please do NOT fly your UAS on Bonaire, and if you will, do not something stupid like flying near the airport and the other 2 prohibited zones (Washington park area, and to the south of the Salt Company (Cargill) where the flamingos have their habitat. Neither above populated areas and a lot of people (concerts, parties, markets etc.). If the police will track you and your UAS down they are authorized to confiscate the UAS and give you a big fine. According to Stinapa it's also forbidden to fly above and around Klein Bonaire with UAS's. I kindly ask this to ensure that there will be no more negative "drone" reports the Island Counsel may bring up to ban UAS's forever. Don't get me wrong here. I like to fly my "bird" too and make nice aerial pictures and films and share them but in the meantime we also have to take the safety (and privacy issues) seriously in consideration.

Finally I'd like to propose (local) UAS pilots to bond. Maybe in the future we can start a "Drone Club Bonaire" or something, get together, fly around, make nice footage, exchange experiences, etc.

Like to hear fromyou all.

Kind regards,

10-02-2014, 04:04 PM
Well, i thoroughly enjoyed it as 1000 steps is one of my favorite spots. Thank you.

10-02-2014, 06:33 PM
Welcome to Bonaire Talk J-P

a good informative post, I've promoted it as an "Article" on the BT front page.


10-02-2014, 07:36 PM
Yup loved the video... 1000 steps might be my favorite dive on the whole planet ;)

10-03-2014, 02:29 PM
Thank you for your replies so far...

@ ModRoy: I feel honored that my first post got promoted to the article section.

Perhaps I will write some more "articles" about UAS's here. Just to inform the readers that they will come to Bonaire and people do not have to be frightened about them at all.
Reminds me of a post in some "drone forum" talking about being afraid of new things and they posted an image of a very early car in the early 1900 with a man walking in front of it to warning people that an automobile is coming (see below). Hilarious !!!



03-26-2017, 06:47 AM
from the Bonaire International Airport website update from 21st Feb 2017......think-twice-before-packing-your-drone-for-bonaire (http://www.bonaireinternationalairport.com/2017/02/think-twice-before-packing-your-drone-for-bonaire/)

03-27-2017, 10:07 AM
We saw one over the Sand Dollar when we were there earlier this month. I'm not sure if it was a visitor or some sort of Sand Dollar promotion.


10-06-2017, 10:48 AM
I didn't realize that drones are not allowed on Bonaire. Is this still true? I see them from time to time.

A few weeks ago, there was a tourist who took the water taxi to Klein Bonaire but didn't return, he died on the island but they couldn't find him. They flew a helicopter over the island to search for him, but using a drone would have been more effective and less costly for sure.

07-20-2019, 03:38 AM
methinks a timely reminder / update is needed.....

BIA info on Drones on Bonaire (http://www.bonaireinternationalairport.com/drones-on-bonaire/)

07-21-2019, 04:38 AM
I found this, but I am still not really sure what the ‘actual’ Drone laws/regulations are. But the following is what I found on the InterWeb. I have flown one of my Drones on Bonaire but only over my property for pictures/videos on my house and lot. I have seen two other Drones fly by my Lot, just offshore by about 20 - 50m or so. I assume taking pictures of the shoreline. It does not personally bother me, as someone could do the same thing cruising by in a boat using their smartphone or video camera. But as noted below Privacy Laws should be a concern to Drone operators.

Most countries have recently put into place or are putting into place new rules and regulation surrounding there use. In Canada I have had to get a ‘Drone’ pilots licence and register my Drones, I have two. These new rules and regulations came into effect on June 1st of this year. The fines can get into the many of thousands of dollars if you break the rules. The list of rules in the article below pretty much follows what I have to abide by in Canada. I do not think I will fly on Bonaire anymore until I can get a better understanding of the actual rules and regulations. In Canada you can only fly a Drone if you have a Canadian Licence and a Drone registered in Canada, that is unless you apply for and obtain a Special Flight Approval from Transport Canada.

Strict rules emplaced for operating drones on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba (http://www.dutchcaribbeanlegalportal.com/news/latest-news/8717-strict-rules-emplaced-for-operating-drones-on-bonaire-st-eustatius-and-saba)July 11, 2018 10:07 AM

BES ISLANDS - 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.