Port of Long Beach Requires $100 UAS Permit

The Port of Long Beach, Calif., is now requiring unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operators to get a separate permit from the port’s security division before they take off or land in the Harbor District.

According to a press release from the Port of Long Beach, the new rules, which went into effect on Oct. 26, mandate that in order for UAS pilots to receive the permit, they must show proof of insurance, provide registration information and takeoff and landing plans, and obtain permission from occupants of any port facilities to be overflown.

The new rules, approved as part of a recent tariff amendment by the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, are aimed at heightening safety and security of the port, which touts itself as the second-busiest in the U.S.

The permit application requires a $100 fee and takes roughly 10 business days to process. Speaking on the “cost-prohibitive” nature of the permits, the port explains in an FAQ that “fees assessed to issue a permit cover staff time” and that “insurance requirements serve to protect port assets and tenant business interests.”

Drone operators must also submit an on-site notification form to the security division at least 48 hours before any permitted takeoff/landing. In addition, they must notify the Port of Long Beach Harbor Patrol two hours prior. They must also have the approved permit agreement and on-site notification form on hand. Furthermore, if operators are filming for commercial purposes, they must apply for a filming/special events permit with the Tenant Services Division.

“Our security, risk management and commercial operations staff worked closely with the Long Beach City Attorney’s Office to develop a permitting process that focuses on the safe usage of drones in the Harbor District within the allowable legal parameters of the Federal Aviation Administration,” says Mario Cordero, the Port of Long Beach’s executive director. “The approved rules, with requirements for insurance and notifications, should enhance our ability to maintain a safe environment for cargo operations in the port.”

The Port of Long Beach is a public agency managed and operated by the City of Long Beach’s Harbor Department. The City of Long Beach also owns the port lands.

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