Flying to the Bahamas
  1. Make sure you have passports
  2. File an International Flight Plan
  3. Must have Coast-Guard approved life jackets for each person on board
  4. File the mandatory eAPIS -- new online reporting system
  5. Activate your flight plan before leaving Florida on 122.2, 122.4 or 126.7 (Miami Radio)
  6. Prior to landing, close your flight plan on 124.2 or 128.0 (Nassau Radio). If unable to close in the air, call (800) WX-BRIEF or (242) 377-7116.
  7. Land at an Airport of Entry (AOE) to clear Customs and Immigration
  8. Prepare Gen Decs or Cruising Permit, and Immigration cards.
  9. Be cooperative with Customs & Immigration, they’ll be happy to help.
Returning to the U.S.
  1. You must depart from an AOE.
  2. File one Gen Dec and turn in copy of Immigration card.
  3. Pay departure tax.
  4. File the mandatory eAPIS -- new online reporting system
  5. Advise U.S. Customs at least 1 hour prior to arrival.
  6. File an International Flight Plan (800) WX-BRIEF, or fly and then file with Nassau or Freeport on 124.2, 128.0.
  7. Activate Flight Plan with Nassau Radio on 124.2, 128.0 or Freeport Radio. If unable, activate with Miami Radio 126.7 or see U.S. section.
  8. VFR flights must receive a discrete transponder code from FSS 126.7 Miami Radio 15 minutes before penetrating the ADIZ, just past Bimini. Flight Service is responsible, not Approach Control.
  9. Close your flight plan in the air on 126.7 or see U.S. Section. If not able, close at Customs office with (800) WX-BRIEF.
  10. Land at an Airport of Entry.
  11. Take all baggage and proceed directly to Customs.
  12. Prepare U.S. Arrival Report (pilot only) and Customs Declaration cards (1 per family)

Required Aircraft Equipment

The following items are mandatory and must be on board the aircraft or in your possession:
  • Original aircraft ­registration and ­airworthiness ­certificates
  • Original valid pilot’s license and current ­medical certificate
  • One Coast Guard-approved life vest for each soul on board
  • Radio for two-way communication on all frequencies
  • Proof of citizenship – U.S. citizens must have a valid passport
  • Prior approval and documentation for pets
  • U.S. Customs Decal
  • 12" numbers

Suggested Aircraft Equipment

The following, although not mandatory, is recommended:
  • Aircraft insurance policy valid for the Bahamas or with Bahamas endorsement
  • Life raft to accommodate all on board
  • Emergency survival kit, including food
  • A portable VHF marine radio
  • An EPIRB, see Survival section
  • A generous supply of General Declar­ation forms and car­bon paper
  • Control locks and tie-down kit, including ropes and stakes
  • Extra cans of engine oil
  • Credit cards: Shell, Texaco, Exxon, Visa and MasterCard
  • Plenty of cash and/or travelers checks
  • A copy of the current Pilot’s Guide — an invaluable asset throughout your trip!