Strict rules in place for operating drones | THE DAILY HERALD

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS–The Prosecutor’s Office reminds drone owners in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba to adhere to the rules when operating such devices on these islands, or risk jail time, a fine or confiscation of the drone.

The reminder by the Prosecutor’s Office comes after a recent verdict by the Court of First Instance in Bonaire in which a drone pilot received a fully suspended prison sentence, on one-year probation, for illegally flying the drone over the prison on Bonaire.

Operating drones as a hobby is increasing in popularity. Therefore, the Prosecutor’s Office has outlines for this practice.

The drone should not be heavier than 25 kilos. The drone is prohibited from being flown more than 120 metres above the ground or sea, and may not be flown over a crowd of people or over ongoing construction. The drone should also 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 a drone airplanes and helicopters should always be given priority.

The Prosecutor’s Office says 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 a drone. Therefore, the Prosecutor’s Office advises drone operators to be vigilant.

A permit is required when a drone is being used for business purposes and different rules apply.

Source: The Daily Herald