Updated regulations for the use of helipads in France

During a recent conference held by GEPY, the French association for yacht crew, a representative from the Préfet Maritime announced updated regulations for the take-off and landing of helicopters on yachts in French Mediterranean waters.

We’ve provided an English translation of an example of the new prefectoral order for those yachts affected by the updated regulations.

To download the updated helipad regulations in French, click here.

Helipad use in French Mediterranean waters

Prefectoral order number 253/2018: Approving a zone for the use of a helipad at sea. M/Y [XXX]

Article 1
Until December 31, 2020, the helipad of the ship "M/Y [XXX]" (IMO: 1008700) can be used, in internal waters and the territorial sea under French sovereignty in the Mediterranean, to make flights for the benefit of the shipowner. The helipad is used under the responsibility of the pilot-in-command or the operator of the helicopter.

Article 2
The helipad should not be used when the ship is docked, or within 300 meters of the shore.

Article 3
No flight to or from abroad, outside the Schengen area, will be allowed to take place from the platform. However, under the conditions set by the interministerial decree of April 20, 1998, as amended above, the helipad is open to domestic flights under article 1 of the agreement, implementing the Schengen Agreement. All customs and police formalities must be completed at airports open to these operations. Customs formalities concerning persons and goods subject to customs must be completed with the service’s competent customs officials. Customs services will have free access to the facilities.

Article 4
The provisions of the interministerial orders of February 22, 1971 and of May 6, 1995 referred to above, which govern the creation and use of a helipad must be strictly observed.

The pilot and aircraft’s documents must comply with the current regulations. The pilot of the aircraft must also be authorized to use helipads. These documents will need to be presented  at first request to the services responsible for control.

The aircraft is not authorised to overfly a gathering of people or boats below regulatory heights. The arrival and departure paths will be defined in clear areas of sea, to avoid danger to the safety of people and property. The helipad will be isolated by all appropriate means and will only be accessible to personnel necessary for the operation.

Article 5
5.1. This decree does not include any derogation of the air or air transport regulations, in particular:

- restrictions on airspace (decree n ° 91-660 of July 11, 1991 modified);
- in respect of the status of the airspace crossed and the obligation to make radio contact with managing bodies;
- the flight regulations (decrees of October 10, 1957 and of November 17, 1958 modified);
- equipment and regulatory documents, in particular for maritime overflights (decree of July 24, 1991 modified).

5.2. Reminders
Following article 15 of the aforementioned amended decree of 6 May 1995, the use of the helipad in the vicinity of aerodromes is subject to the prior agreement of the authority responsible for aeronautics.

The use of the helipad is strictly prohibited when it is located:

- less than 6 kilometres from the aerodromes of Béziers Vias - Cannes Mandelieu - Ghisonaccia Alzitone and Propriano Tavaria       

- less than 8 kilometres from Ajaccio Bonaparte aerodromes - Bastia Poretta - Calvi Sainte Catherine - Figari Sud-Corse - Montpellier Méditerranée and Nice Côte d´Azur.

5.3. Before entering the Mediterranean training area D. 54, the pilot of the helicopter must contact the management body of the area (F.A.N.N.Y - frequencies: 127.975 (P) / 118.5 (S) MHz).

5.4. For all departing flights within the limits of the “CTR Nice 1”, the pilot must call the tower manager (Tel: 10 minutes before takeoff to confirm his flight and the position of the ship. 

Pilots are reminded that bilateral radio contact is compulsory with the Control organization before the helipad take off.

5.5. For all departing flights within the limits of the Ajaccio, Bastia CTR, Calvi or Figari,  it is obligatory to deposit flight plan no later than thirty minutes before the flight with the information office, Ajaccio aeronautics (Tel. /,.

This flight intention must include the following:

- the code and the type of aircraft,
- the name of the vessel,
- the radial position and distance of the helicopter from the beacon VOR / DME BTA (114.15 MHz) or FGI (116.70 MHz) or ARP for Ajaccio and Calvi before take-off
- the estimated take-off time,
- the destination,
- the first reporting point.

In addition, 10 minutes before takeoff, the pilot must call the tower manager of Bastia (Tel: and of Figari (Tel: to confirm his flight and the position of the ship.

Pilots are reminded that bilateral radio contact with the control organisation is compulsory before take off from the helipad.

Article 6
The operation of helicopters in public transport is subject to the provisions of the decree of February 25, 1985 as amended if operated by an airline company and the amended decree of 23 September 1999 applies, which relates to the technical conditions required for the operation of helicopters by a public airline (OPS 3), and the modified instruction of April 23, 2004  of the same decree.

Article 7
All incidents or accidents must be reported to the aeronautical police brigade (Tel: and, failing that, to the information and command centre for zonal direction at the border police in Marseille (Tel:, as well as to the competent aeronautical district.

Article 8
Authorization is precarious and is revocable. Violations of this decree expose the perpetrators to the penalties of the Civil Aviation Code, by articles L. 5242-1 and L. 5242-2 of the Transport Code and by articles 131-13 and R. 610-5 of the Penal Code.

Article 9
The persons listed in article L. 6142-1 of the Transport Code (officers and agents of maritime police authorities) are responsible for the execution of this decree, which is published in the collection of administrative acts for the Mediterranean Maritime Prefecture.


Please note: These regulations have been translated to the best of the PYA's ability. In case of any queries, we advise all members to refer to the original French prefectoral order or contact the Préfet Maritime.