Bahamas Flying for Beginners

As a Bahamas Flying Ambassador, I often hear from pilots that are interested in flying to The Islands Of The Bahamas, but are concerned about taking their first trip. 

The most common concerns are related to crossing into foreign airspace, dealing with customs and overwater flight. This article explains policies and procedures in order to insure your flying adventure will be a success.

AOPA Pilots - Flying to the Bahamas Pre-trip Preparation YouTube

Several Weeks Prior to Departure

Several weeks before departing for the Bahamas you should register for access to the Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) and also pay for an aircraft specific user fee decal at the Decal and Transponder Online Procurement System (DTOPS).

You must have a Coast Guard approved life vest on board for each passenger. I recommend carrying a life raft and PLB as well. Many US Based FBOs rent these items. If you expect to fly to the islands regularly, it’s cost effective to buy. If not, you can conveniently rent these items from many east coast FBOs.

Bahamas Aerial View - Pilot MallDeparting the US

When you are ready to depart the US, you must file a flight plan (DVFR or IFR) and also login to eAPIS to file a Notice of Departure and traveler manifest (It’s recommended that you file a Notice of Arrival and traveler manifest at the same time because internet connections are not always reliable in the Bahamas). You must first land at an airport of entry (AOE) to clear customs and immigration.

Twenty Airports of Entry in the Bahamas

    • Abaco: Marsh Harbor (MYAM), Sandy Point (MYAS), Spanish Cay (MYAX) & Treasure Cay (MYAT)
    • Andros: Andros Town (MYAF), Congo Town (MYAK), San Andros (MYAN)
    • Berry Islands: Chub Cay (MYBC) & Great Harbour Cay (MYBG)
    • Bimini: South Bimini (MYBS)
    • Cat Island: New Bight (MYCB)
    • Eleuthera: Governor’s Harbour (MYEM), North Eleuthera (MYEH), Rock Sound (MYER)
    • Exuma: Exuma Int’l (MYEF)
    • Grand Bahama: Freeport (MYGF)
    • Inagua: Matthew Town (MYIG)
    • Long Island: Stella Maris (MYLS)
    • New Providence: Nassau (MYNN)
    • San Salvador: Cockburn Town (MYSM)

Private Plane on Bahamas Tarmac - Pilot MallEntering the Bahamas

When entering The Islands Of The Bahamas, you will need to file a few basic forms. If you only plan to stay on one island during your trip, The Bahamas Customs Department Aircraft General Declaration (Inward) Form (C7) should be filed.

If you plan to fly to multiple islands during your stay, an Inward Declaration and Cruising Permit for Private Aircraft Entering the Bahamas (C7A) should be filed instead. Each passenger is required to fill out a Bahamas Immigration card and provide proof of citizenship (passport) upon entry.

Note: There is a $50.00 processing fee per non-commercial aircraft arrival into The Islands Of The Bahamas. There are no overtime fees for private, non-commercial aircraft.

Time in the Bahamas

The Islands Of The Bahamas is a magical place, abundant with beauty and unique attractions. With over 700 islands, this oasis features breathtaking islands, cays, and boasts the clearest water on the planet—with a visibility of over 200 feet.

Each island offers a unique landscape, culture, extraordinary natural wonders and striking man-made attractions. Whether desiring entertainment or quality rest and relaxation, the unique character, versatile attractions, and laid-back, tranquil atmosphere of the Bahamas will fulfill all of your needs.

Bahamas Airport Runway - Pilot MallDeparting the Bahamas

Departing The Islands Of The Bahamas is just as easy as entering. You will need to file one copy of the C7 Outward Declaration. Bahamas Immigration cards must be turned in and a government departure tax of $25.00 per person over the age of six will be collected.

Entering the US

Similar to arrival, you must depart the Bahamas from an Airports of Entry. Similarly, on the U.S. side, you must first land at a U.S. Port of Entry. Before departing for the US, file an international flight plan and Notice of Arrival on eApis if you haven’t already done so.

The eApis filing should be done at least one hour prior to departure. As mentioned previously, I highly recommend doing this before departing the US if possible.

You’ll need to call the U.S. Customs facility that you plan to land at to notify them of your ETA. You can do this from the airport via a “Blue Phone” at no charge. At that time write down the initials of the customs officer for your records.

U.S. Designated Airports of Entry

  • Ft. Lauderdale Executive (FXE) ADCUS Telephone: Sun-Sat 0900-1700 (954) 356-7412
  • Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood Intl (FLL) ADCUS Telephone: Sun-Sat 0800-2200 (954) 356-7411, After hours (305) 526-2878
  • Key West International (EYW) ADCUS Telephone: Sun-Sat 24 hours (305) 296-5411
  • Miami International (MIA) ADCUS Telephone: Sun-Sat 0800-2400 (305) 526-7155, After hours (305) 526-2878
  • Opa Locka (OPF) ADCUS Telephone: Sun-Sat 0900-1700 (305) 526-2534
  • St. Lucie Country Intl (FPR) ADCUS Telephone: Sun-Sat 0800-2000 (561) 461-1733
  • Kendall-Tamiami Executive (TMB) ADCUS Telephone: Sun-Sat 0900-1700 (305) 526-2608
  • Palm Beach International (PBI) ADCUS Telephone: Mon-Sat 0800-2000 (561) 233-1080, Sun 0800-2400 (561) 233-1080, After hours (305) 526-2878

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the closest islands to Florida?

    The Bahamas, particularly Bimini, are the closest islands to Florida, located only about 50 miles east of Miami. The Florida Keys, a set of isles extending from the lower part of Florida, are also quite close to the mainland. Key West, the southernmost town in the continental U.S., is one of the Florida Keys and is around 90 miles from Cuba.

  • Is flight following required?

    In order to leave or enter the US, you must file and activate a flight plan. You can call the Miami FSS by dialing (800) 432-4716 or (305) 233-2600.

  • Is fuel available, and how expensive is it?

    In general AV100LL gas is around $6-7. You can look up fuel prices for the airport you intend to depart from and arrive at by using sites such as AirNav.

  • What equipment is required to fly to the islands?

    A two-way radio and transponder along with VFR or IFR equipment minimums.

  • What are the necessary fees?

    The Customs Processing Fee is $50 along with a landing fee of around $4-$75.00 per aircraft depending on the weight. This fee is charged for entering the Bahamas. All pilots must fill out a C7A form. Departure fees are around $29. Anticipate parking fees of around $3-$20 per day depending on the weight of the aircraft.

Recommended Reading Material:

  • Bahamas Flying Essentials

https://www.pilotmall.com/collections/survival-preparedness

  • The Islands Of The Bahamas Private Flying

https://www.bahamas.com/things-do/private-flying 

  • Department of Homeland Security

Advance Information on Private Aircraft Arriving and Departing the United States

https://www.cbp.gov/travel/travel-industry-personnel/apis/private-aircraft 

  • AOPA Bahamas Out Islands

https://www.aopa.org/travel/international-travel/bahamas

Did you find this article helpful?

Do you think we missed anything important? Let us know in the comments below!

1 comment

Rick

Rick

According to FSS (briefers at 1800wxbrief), an IFR or VFR flight plan are the correct types of plans to utilize to/from the Bahamas. DVFR flight plan is incorrect and has been promoted incorrectly. Its true use is for aircraft operating within the ADIZ. Not transitioning the ADIZ. Many websites, including AOPA’s, are incorrect – according to the briefers at 1800wxbrief.
Also, if you file VFR at 1800wxbrief.com, that website will provide you with a beacon code (squawk code) at the time of filing (when filing on the same day). Which is pretty cool).

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

Featured products

Travelpro FlightCrew5 Multi-Purpose Tote
Travelpro
360 View
Travelpro FlightCrew5 Multi-Purpose Tote
Sale price$109.00 USD Regular price$170.00 USD
In stock
Flying is Freedom Passport & Magnetic Luggage Tag Gift Set LIQUIDATION PRICING
Flying is Freedom
🔥Liquidation Sale 🔥
Flying is Freedom Passport & Magnetic Luggage Tag Gift Set LIQUIDATION PRICING
Sale price$35.99 USD
In stock
BrightLine Bags B7 Flight
BrightLine Bags
BrightLine Bags B7 Flight
Sale price$287.00 USD
Sold out

Latest Blog Posts

View all
How to Decide if Being an Airline Pilot is Right for You

How to Decide if Being an Airline Pilot is Right for You

Airlines
Becoming an airline pilot is the ultimate dream for many flight students. Along with the thrill of traveling on a daily basis, there is also the financial security that comes with the job. Let's examine the airline pilot pros and cons to determine if it lines up with your personal goals and interests.
How to Become a Helicopter Pilot (Step-By-Step Guide)

How to Become a Helicopter Pilot (Step-By-Step Guide)

Helicopter

Almost everyone looks up when they hear a helicopter flying overhead, right? There’s a certain mystique about helicopters and the people who pilot them. Helicopters are fast, they’re agile and they can get into places that a fixed wing aircraft couldn’t hope to. Helicopter pilots conduct search and rescue operations, they airlift wounded military members out of hot zones, they provide aerial reconnaissance, civilian medical transport and more.

Breaking Down Everything in the Cessna 172 Cockpit

Breaking Down Everything in the Cessna 172 Cockpit

Aircraft

Are you curious about the inner workings of a Cessna 172 cockpit? In this guide we’ll take your through each control and instrument to boost your cockpit awareness. If you're just starting flight training as a student pilot or preparing for a checkout in a new aircraft with your instructor, this guide will help you become a knowledgeable and confident pilot.