Hanauma Bay is a marine life conservation district and underwater park. It’s a beautiful nature preserve located in the state of Hawaii. The rules for Hanauma Bay drone use are easy to understand, but difficult to follow.

Yes, but only if you follow the rules. In Hawaii, you can’t fly a drone within five miles of an airport. You also can’t fly a drone over people, and you can’t operate it at night. Sometimes it’s okay to fly in these restricted areas, but you need to get permission from the FAA first.

In fact, the only time you can legally fly a drone at Hanauma Bay is if you have permission from the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). This would require an application process, approval, and payment fees. The DLNR must also approve your proposed purpose for flying a drone there.

Can You Fly A Drone In Hawaii?

Can You Fly A Drone In Hawaii?

Recent laws like the FAA Reauthorization Act restrict drone pilots from flying without permission from air traffic control towers at airports or above 400 feet in the air.

This is where things get tricky for drone pilots who are not aware of their limitations: if your drone happens to be hovering near an airport when another pilot notifies the tower that they are taking off/landing, then your flight could be cut short by air traffic controllers through radio contact with your controller.

Faa Drone Zone Apps

  • B4UFLY
  • AirMap
  • UAS Facility Map
  • Droners.io
  • Hover
  • UAV Forecast
  • DroneDeploy (live flight and construction progress tracking)
  • Skyward (drone asset management)
  • Sun Surveyor (sunrise and sunset planner)
  • UAV Buddy (data logger, mission planner, and offline map viewer)

Hanauma Bay Rules And Regulations

Hanauma Bay Rules And Regulations

Hanauma Bay is a protected marine life conservation area and underwater park. So there are a few rules that you need to follow to protect the wildlife of Hanauma Bay. Here are the rules for Hanauma Bay that you need to follow:

  • Prohibited Activities: Diving, surfing, and fishing.
  • Hanauma Bay Education Program: Everybody needs to view a 9-minute video about Hawaii’s unique marine ecosystem and the importance of preserving it before entering the bay. There is an audio version available in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese languages too.
  • Hours: The first tram down departs at 6 am in summer months (May – Sep) while in winter months (Oct – Apr) it departs at 7 am. The tram service ends 45 minutes before sunset.
  • Parking Lot: Parking lot opens at 5 am and closes 1 hour after sunset. There are around 500 parking spaces available on first come first serve basis so it’s best to reach early or late during weekdays to avoid traffic jam as well as find space in the parking lot. It costs $1 per hour or $3 per day for non-residents but free for residents with valid ID proof of Hawaii state residency like Hawaii’s driver license etc.
  • You can pay by cash or credit card at one of two payment kiosks near the entrance but paying by credit card will incur an extra service fee of $0.35 per transaction so it is suggested that you pay using cash instead if possible since change kiosk also accepts dollar bills only so don’t expect them to give you any change back from your $20 bill if you use that!
  • Entrance Fee: It costs $7.50 for adults (13 years old+), children 12 years old or younger get free entry into Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve Park & its facilities including showers on weekdays(Monday–Friday). On weekends(Saturday & Sunday) entrance

Hawaii Drone Laws And Tips For Flying Safely

It’s always a good idea to be safe and fly smart. Before you take off, check the FAA laws and local drone laws. Be aware of your surroundings, including other people in the area as well as weather conditions. If you’re doing something that puts others at risk, you need to stop immediately.

To start, it’s important to understand that according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), drones are considered aircraft. This means that when you’re operating a drone in Hawaii, you’re subject to all relevant FAA rules and regulations for aircraft. The Aircraft Owner & Pilot Association has put together an excellent summary of these rules, which we’ll cover below.

The FAA restricts drone flight within 5 miles of an airport without notifying air traffic control tower or getting clearance from air traffic control. You also shouldn’t fly over people or at night without special authorization from the FAA.

While registering your drone with the FAA is not required for recreational flyers in Hawaii, it is still advisable as you may be asked by police or airport officials for proof of registration when out flying. The Drone Law Pro website has more information on how to register your drone with FAA.

Regulations And Restrictions On Drone Use In Hawaii

  • Flying drones on state land: You need special permission to fly a drone on state land. You should be able to get in touch with the county or the state department that manages the land.
  • Flying drones over state land: This also requires permission, and you should be able to obtain it in the same way as flying on state land.
  • Flying drones above State Parks: This also requires permission, which can be obtained from the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife.
  • Using a drone to take wildlife photos: To get permission to use your drone for this purpose, you must contact the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife.
  • Using a drone for scientific research: If you wish to use your drone for scientific research, you may obtain authorization through a Scientific Research Permit. Email them at [email protected]

Registering Your Drone With The Faa

Registering your drone is a simple and painless process, and it only costs $5 to register. The FAA’s registration site makes it pretty straightforward, but here is a quick breakdown:

  • Go to faa.gov
  • Click the button that says “Register Now”.
  • Enter your email address, create a password, enter in some personal information (your name, street address and mailing address), then click “Create Account”.
  • At this point you will be asked to verify your email address by clicking on the link in an email sent to you by the FAA (in case you missed it: make sure you use an active email account that you check regularly). Once verified, log back into your account and continue with the registration process.
  • Next enter some information about your drone—weight of drone without accessories or attachments, color(s), model number at minimum (serial number if available) and click “Next” when ready.
  • The next page allows you to review all of the information entered so far before submitting payment ($5 via debit or credit card). Once payment has been received your new certification number will be displayed along with instructions for marking it on your drone before finalizing registration by clicking “Finish Registration”.
  • If everything went smoothly up until this point—congratulations! You are now an officially registered UAS operator.
  • You should have also received a confirmation email from the FAA stating as much as well as containing links to further resources including rules for unmanned aircraft operators and links for reporting incidents online or by phone should there be any problems while flying such as an accident or near collision involving another aircraft.

Tips For Flying Safely In Hawaii

  • Be aware of weather conditions. Weather conditions can affect the stability and control of your drone. Hawaii is known for having a warm, tropical climate, but you should always be cognizant of the weather conditions before flying. For example, strong winds or rain can cause poor visibility and make it difficult to fly a drone safely.
  • Don’t fly over people. You should not fly your drone over any person unless that person is directly involved in flying the drone (or unless you have written permission from that person). It’s important to note that this means you shouldn’t fly over anyone who isn’t directly involved with flying the drone—even if that person is standing far away from where you are operating your drone. If a part of your drone breaks off and hits someone, it could seriously injure them!
  • Don’t fly over buildings or cars. You shouldn’t intentionally fly at an altitude lower than 200 feet above any building or vehicle in populated areas. If someone tries to tell you to stop flying because they’re concerned about their safety, don’t argue with them—just land your drone immediately!
  • Don’t fly at night without special waivers from the FAA. Flying at night is more dangerous because it’s much harder to see other aircrafts, which increases the likelihood of an accident occurring between two drones or between an aircraft and a drone due to lack of visibility on both sides; therefore most states prohibit this activity without special permissions granted by federal authorities such as those issued through Section 333 exemptions.
  • Don’t fly over public events like sporting games or concerts without permission from event organizers first since these tend to get packed with hundreds or even thousands of people who might not be aware that there’s going on above them! Be sure also not drive around military bases since these particular places may pose heightened risks when compared with normal civilian areas due their proximity near sensitive facilities so avoid going near those areas altogether just in case


Flying a drone is one of the best things you can do with it, and as everyone knows Hawaii is one of the best destinations in the world to travel to. So that means you going there and flying your drone around, and I mean, why not?

Flying a drone at Hanauma Bay is not that easy though. From the drone’s camera angle you will see the beautiful landscape and the calm water of Hanauma Bay, but do not get distracted by those things. The bay itself isn’t an issue but you also have to take into consideration all these other visitors who want to enjoy the nature just like you.

Frequently Asked Questions (can You Fly A Drone At Hanauma Bay)

What To Do If You’re Caught Flying Without Permission

So, you’re flying your drone in Hawaii and get stopped by a cop. What happens? First of all, you’ll likely be given a fine between $250 and $1,000. If your drone is confiscated, you’ll have to pay another fee—this time for the storage of your drone.

In most cases, you won’t be going to jail or facing legal charges. For example, when one man was caught flying his quadcopter above the waters of Waikiki Beach back in 2016, he had to pay a fine of $500 and was told not to fly there again.

Where To Fly Drones On Oahu, Hawaii

As much as you may want to fly your drone around Hanauma Bay, it is not recommended. Technically, this area is subject to the same laws as Honolulu proper based on FAA regulations, but the danger of crashing your drone into a group of innocents risking their lives for the perfect selfie are too great. There are plenty of other places in Oahu that have fewer people and offer better views:

  • Kahuku Point
  • Diamond Head
  • Ka’ena Point State Park
  • Makapuu Lighthouse Trail

Similar Posts