By Gretchen Corpe Ellinger
A number of visitors to Rocky Point have been seen with their unmanned aerial vehicles, uav’s or drones, on the beaches, over residential areas, and even hovering over a massage in progress on the patio of a rental home! No bueno!
The Directorate General of Civil Aeronautics (Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil) or DGAC is the government body responsible for regulating the civil aviation industry in Mexico. DGAC operates under the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation, and has issued a set of very specific laws regarding use of drones, or uav’s, in Mexico. The website UAVCoach.com is a useful resource, and lists the following requirements for drone operation in Mexico:
- All drones weighing over 250 grams (.55 pounds) must be registered with the DGCA. Registration requires an official ID proving Mexican citizenship, therefore prohibiting registration by foreign persons. Learn more about registering your drone in Mexico here.
- Fly only in daylight.
- Keep the drone within your visual line of sight and no farther than 1,500 feet away from the operator.
- Do not fly higher than 400 feet above ground level.
- Do no fly over people or animals.
- Do not fly at historical sites such as Chichen Itza or protected areas such as Shuk Toak.
- Drones must stay 9.2 kilometers (5 nautical miles) away from any airport.
- Do not exceed the maximum operating speed for the drone based on its maximum takeoff weight.
- Drones must not drop objects that may cause damage to people or property.
- Be sure to follow the drone policies for the hotel or resort at which you are staying.
The most important of the requirements listed above is the first one, which clearly states that only Mexican citizens may register a drone. This means that the average non-Mexican tourist has no right to have a drone in his possession in Mexico, and if caught with one. May suffer the full extent of Mexican law.
More likely, if the visitor’s vehicle is searched at the border when entering Mexico, and a drone is found, likely the drone will be confiscated. That would be unfortunate, but ‘way better than an arrest on the beach while piloting the drone, followed by a trip to jail! Either scenario is, again, no bueno!
There is LOTS for visitors to do in Puerto Peñasco without getting into legal trouble, so leave the drone at home, and enjoy Rocky Point!