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Flying a drone in Antarctica


Can I fly drones in Antarctica?

Pristine landscapes, gigantic icebergs and iconic wildlife in their natural habitat – no wonder that, as an avid expeditioner, you’ll be blown away by the beauty of the White Continent. And of course, you’d like to remember these magical moments with lots of photos and video footage! But what about Antarctica drone footage? Even though you can visit Antarctica for tourism, it is still a natural reserve and sanctuary for wildlife and its ecosystem contributes to keeping our planet healthy. Thus, The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) regulates drone usage in Antarctica with a temporary ban on flying drones without a permit set on a yearly basis with annual reviews every May to allow for potential changes or adjustments.

How can I obtain a permit to fly my drone over Antarctica?

Unfortunately, here we are tied up by regulations and can’t assist you. If you would like to bring a drone on your Antarctic cruise, you’ll need to apply for a permit yourself at your national authority regulating these matters. Please note that your permit needs to be submitted no later than 60 days before your cruise starts to the U.S. authorities (our organization’s activities in Antarctica are regulated by the U.S. Government as part of the Antarctic Treaty requirements). Once you’ve received your permit, please send it to us so we can submit it with the authorities.

Will recreational drones ever be allowed in Antarctica?

It’s not unlikely that at some point flying a drone in Antarctica will be possible and easier to realize. Since drones in Antarctica are a quite recent issue, the IAATO is still establishing its rules and regulations and constantly adjusting them. Working with all members of the treaty, the IAATO is not for an outright ban on all drones in Antarctica, but rather a framework that covers safety for the environment and wildlife.

Meanwhile we can assure you that you’ll get prime views from deck, our Zodiac boats, kayaks and while venturing out on foot. Antarctica drone footage may give you a view from above, but a real expedition cruise brings you right into the action! After all, your cruise to Antarctica will allow you to immerse yourself fully into this beautiful polar paradise, visit the best spots for viewing and photographing wildlife and taking home memories for a lifetime.

What about flying drones in other Antarctic regions?

As the IAATO regulates the entire Antarctic region, the same drone laws apply also for the subantarctic islands.

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