Frequently Asked Questions

What is Watermakers Air?


Watermakers Air is a FAA Certified, Part 135 On-Demand Charter Operator. We have been in business since 2002 with our base of operations at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. We offer both private charters and “per seat” fares (via our sister company, Exuma Cays Travel, Inc.) to numerous destinations in the Bahamas.

What is the difference between Watermakers Air and Exuma Cays Travel?


All scheduled flights and “per seat” fares are offered and sold to the general public as “Public Charters” by Exuma Cays Travel, Inc. (ECT). ECT is certified by the U.S. DOT as a Public Charter Operator under Part 380 of the U.S. DOT’s regulations (14 CFR 380). Watermakers Air is the Direct Air Carrier that performs all ECT flights and is responsible for all aspects of flight services.

I’ve never heard of public charters. What is a public charter service?


“Public Charters” permit scheduled service and “per seat” fares, subject to U.S. DOT regulations. These regulations, published in Title 14 CFR Part 380, provide enhanced consumer protection by specifying minimum contract terms and imposing requirements for handling of passenger funds. For example, because all Exuma Cays Travel scheduled flights are operated as “Public Charters”, your entire fare is held in a U.S. DOT-approved escrow account until your flight is complete. Exuma Cays Travel only receives these funds after the flight is performed. In addition, Public Charter rules also limit the circumstances under which your flight may be canceled.

The Department of Transportation advises passengers that:

Charter flights can provide excellent value, and they often operate nonstop in markets where scheduled flights would be less direct. In addition, many charters don’t have all of the restrictions of scheduled service discount fares, e.g., advance-purchase, stay over a Saturday night, stay no more than 30 days, etc. Finally, most charter fares are not “capacity-controlled” like scheduled-service discount fares; every seat on the airplane is usually available at the advertised fare.

Unlike many public charters, Exuma Cays Travel provides a level of service that exceeds the minimum DOT regulatory requirements. On ECT public charters:

  • No parking fees
  • No baggage fees (unless passengers exceed their maximum weight allowance)

The air carrier that performs Exuma Cays Travel flights is Watermakers Air. As the direct air carrier, Watermakers Air is responsible for all aspects of the flight services.

Further DOT Aviation Consumer Protection and Enforcement Information can be found here:

http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/publications/charters.htm

Public Charter regulations can be viewed by clicking here.

What is the Operator-Participant Agreement (OPA)

The OPA is a document/agreement required by the U.S. Department of Transportation, between the Operator (in this case, “Exuma Cays Travel”) and Participant (the passenger), that must be agreed to prior to any Public Charter services being engaged.
You may view the OPA here

Can anybody charter an airplane?

Absolutely! Whether a “private charter” (where you charter the entire plane and specify the departure time and destination) or a “public charter” (where you book seats on a pre-scheduled flight to a set destination), we do both!

Are all the taxes and fees included in the quoted price?


On all “per seat” fares, the price on your itinerary includes all applicable taxes and fees. However, extra baggage charges, if applicable, are NOT included in this price. On private charters, certain landing fees, customs overtime fees, etc. may not be included in the quoted price. This will depend on the specific charter details (time, destination, etc.).

How do I confirm my tickets?

Full payment and acceptance of these Terms and Conditions are required to secure tickets. Charter reservations may be made directly online at our website, www.WatermakersAir.com, or by calling (954) 771-0330. For bookings made by calling (954) 771-0330 or via our website, Exuma Cays Travel accepts American Express, MasterCard, and Visa. You will receive email confirmation for all tickets and charters.

How do I get to Watermakers Air for my flight?

Watermakers Air is located at the Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport at Hanger 19.

Address: Hangar 19, Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport2331 NW 55th CourtFort Lauderdale, FL 33309
Approximate drive time to Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) – 20 minutesApproximate drive time to Miami International Airport (MIA) – 35-45 minutesApproximate drive time to Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) – 35-45 minutes

From I-95: Take the Commercial Blvd exit (#32) and head west approximately 2 miles to NW 21st avenue. Make a right turn on NW 21st avenue and follow the road about three quarters of a mile.

From the Turnpike: Take the Commercial Blvd exit (#62) and head east approximately 3 miles to NW 21st avenue. Make a left turn on NW 21st avenue and follow the road about three quarters of a mile.

We are located on the right hand side in hangar #19. You will see a sign above the bay door that says Watermakers Air. The office and lobby are located on the left side of the building. Parking is available in all spaces that are labeled Hangar 19, and we have long term parking across the street. The parking is free of charge and is not guarded. Neither Watermakers Air nor Exuma Cays Travel is responsible for vehicles or their contents.

I’m flying into FLL, MIA or PBI airport. How can I get from there to Watermakers Air?

There are many options for transportation to our hanger – car service, rental cars, and taxis. Please click here for transportation information.

When I return from my trip, how do I get from the Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport back to my airport?

Upon clearing U.S. Customs, you may arrange to have transportation pick you up directly from the customs office (5301 East Perimeter Road, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309) or from the Watermakers Air facility. Please click here for transportation information.

Will I need my passport?

Yes, all passengers must have a valid passport to travel to and from the United States. Without this identification, you will not be allowed to board the aircraft. A driver’s license and birth certificate are no longer sufficient for traveling to and from the Bahamas. Citizens of non-U.S. countries may have additional entry requirements for both the U.S. and the Bahamas, such as visas and notarized authorizations. For information on U.S. entry requirements, we please visit www.travel.state.gov.

ATTENTION INTERNATIONAL PASSENGERS: Watermakers Air is a signatory carrier. All International passengers are required to get an ESTA clearance prior to re-entry into the U.S. This requires a 72-hour advance request through the ESTA program. The passenger must carry the ESTA reply with their travel documents.

 Am I allowed to bring liquids, fruits and/or vegetables into the Bahamas or back to the U.S.?

Bahamian Law allows Duty Free (into the Bahamas):
$100 total of duty-free items to visitors
1 qt. of liquor OR 1 qt. of wine OR 1 6-pack of beer
200 cigarettes OR 50 cigars
NO FRUITS OR VEGETABLES
U.S. Customs Allowance (into the U.S.):
Conch/Fish:  10 lbs. per person
Lobster:  6 per person (MUST be more than 6 inches in length)

Where do we clear U.S. Customs & Immigration?

Upon your return to the U.S., the aircraft will taxi immediately to the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol offices at 5301 East Perimeter Road, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309. All items must be removed from the aircraft and passengers will be cleared at this time. Please stay with your pilot during this process and do not leave the building until instructed to do so. PLEASE NOTE: No mobile phone use is allowed for phone calls or texting while you are in the Customs building.

How early do I need to arrive at the airport?


All passengers must arrive and check-in NO LATER than 60 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time.

Can I park at Watermakers Air?

Yes, we provide free parking for our guests. Please be sure to let the ticket counter know where you are parked. You may be asked to leave your keys so we may move your car if necessary.

Parking is available in all spaces that are labeled Hangar 19, and we have long term parking across the street. The parking is free of charge and is not guarded. Neither Watermakers Air nor Exuma Cays Travel is responsible for vehicles or their contents.

What about luggage?

Each ticketed passenger may check up to 35lbs of baggage at no charge. Anything over 35lbs will be charged an Excess Baggage Fee of $1.50 per pound. Please note that excess baggage will be accepted on a space-available basis only.

What happens if my baggage is over the 35lbs allotted to me?

Each passenger is allowed 35lbs of baggage at no charge. Anything over 35lbs will be charged an excess baggage weight fee of $1.50 per pound and is NOT GUARANTEED TO BE ON YOUR FLIGHT. Please note that your carry-on must be 5lbs or less, and must be able to fit in your lap as cabin space is limited. If you anticipate having an excess weight of over 35lbs per person, please contact our Reservations department so we may speak with you about your options. It is important to note that any items that fly unaccompanied (including passenger excess luggage and guaranteed cargo delivery) are subject to duty and must have receipts and invoices attached. You are responsible for payment of that duty.

Can I bring my pet?


You are welcome to bring your pet. Pets always travel at the current Priority Rate. The “per pound” pet charge will include the weight of the crate or “carrier”. Pet must remain confined to an FAA-approved carrier for the duration of the flight.

PLEASE NOTE: Pet’s CANNOT travel alone (i.e., they cannot travel as unaccompanied “freight”). They must be accompanied by a person, and that person/owner is responsible for ALL PAPERWORK required by countries of origin and destination.

Pets Traveling To The Bahamas: Cats and dogs must be accompanied by an Import Permit not older than one year (valid for one entry), Veterinary Health Certificate and must: a. be over six months old; b. have had a rabies vaccination administered not less than one month before import, and not more than 10 months (for a one year vaccine) or 34 months (for a three year vaccine) before import. Please click here for more Bahamas Pet Import information and access to required forms.

Pets Traveling To the United States: Dogs entering the U.S. must have a certificate showing they have been vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days prior to entry into the United States. These requirements apply equally to service animals such as Seeing Eye dogs.

Please click here to review the full U.S. Dog import requirements. Please click here to review the full U.S. Pet import requirements for other types of animals.

Can I bring my fishing rods with me?


Yes!  However, the maximum length of the rods can only be 6 feet due to our cargo pod length. Also, please be sure the lines are spooled to the reels and not set up on the rod.  No hooks should be attached at all due to safety reasons.

Can I bring my drone with me?


Drone use is regulated in the Bahamas and all passengers desiring to bring a drone into the Bahamas are responsible for reading and complying with all legal requirements. A person who wants to use a drone must review the Bahamas drone policy BASR Schedule 27 It is illegal to bring drones into the Bahamas or to operate them without either Bahamian registration or an authorization to operate a drone already registered in another country, e.g., with the FAA in the USA. By law, a drone can be confiscated by the Bahamian government if they find one being operated without either a registration or authorization to operate. They can also confiscate them at customs if not registered or authorized.

You will need to contact the Bahamas Ministry of Civil Aviation to receive an application form, as they are not available online. You can contact them at: (242) 328-2701 or Fax: (242) 328-1324. It is essential that you have the approved registration or authorization in hand before bringing the drone into the country.Travelers may also be required to pay duty and other fees on the equipment.

Children flying without BOTH parents?

Infants and children traveling without both parents must have a notarized letter from the parent(s) not traveling, a death certificate, or the original court document specifying sole custody.

Are there meals and drinks inflight?

All passengers are welcome to enjoy complimentary refreshments and snacks provided in our lounge area prior to the flight. However, please note only clear liquids are allowed inside the aircraft and please note that our aircraft are not equipped with cup holders or tray tables.

Is the flight handicap accessible?

Our aircraft are not equipped with handicap-accessible features or accommodations. We require that any handicapped person fly with an able-bodied individual who is fully knowledgeable about their condition and capable of assisting them with any of their needs, including boarding and deplaning, and most importantly, in the event of an emergency or water landing.

What is your flight change and cancellation policy?

A. Public Charter “per seat” fares – Please note that all seat purchases are non-refundable. A seat is changeable up to 48 hours prior to flight and a $75 change fee per person will apply. A seat is non-refundable or changeable inside of 48 hours prior to flight time. If you are unable to use your reservation, you will have up to 12 months to re-book and a $75 fee per person will apply. Flight insurance is recommended in case you find yourself in a last minute emergency situation.

B. Private Charters – Itinerary changes are permitted, but subject to aircraft and crew availability and subject to price adjustment. Notification of changes and/or cancellations must be in writing and transmitted by email to chrissy@watermakersair.com or faxed to 954-771-0332 within the cancellation timeframe listed above. Clients must call our office at 954-771-0330 to confirm receipt of such changes. Private charter cancellation policy is as follows: 100% fee if cancelled within 48 hours of scheduled charter. There is no refund. A no-show will also be charged the full amount of the charter cost. All prices quoted for private charters are accurate on the date quoted and are valid for 7 days. Full payment is due prior to the date of service – a non-refundable 50% deposit is required at the time of booking; the balance is due 48 hours prior to your flight.

How do I send a package (freight) on Watermakers Air?

Please click here to visit our Freight Services page. Requirements and policies are listed at the bottom of the page.

Can I ship perishable items?

You may ship perishable items. Perishable items always fly at the Priority Freight Rate. All deliveries of perishable items should be individually coordinated with our Freight Department to ensure prompt and expedited delivery. Please click here to visit our Freight Services page. Requirements and policies are listed at the bottom of the page.

* All flights booked on this reservation system and with Exuma Cays Travel, Inc. are Public Charter Flights operated by Exuma Cays Travel, Inc., a Public Charter Operator under the approved U.S. DOT 380 Public Charter Program, Prospectus number PC-17-034. Please visit www.dot.gov for more information on public charter flights.