Taking a vessel into Mexico is a fairly simple but does take some preparation. A
boat permit is required in Mexican water for all cruising motorboats, sailboats, as well
as any dinghy or additional boat abroad the vessel, regardless of size or construction,
that will be used for sport fishing and that are registered as pleasure boats. Clearance
papers as well as fishing permits can be obtained through an agent for a moderate fee or
you can get them yourself. If you are obtaining your own clearance, get a pad of the
printed clearance forms, "A Crew List for Spanish Speaking Countries" from a
chandlery. Remember to type these and do it in Spanish. Then take at least 4
copies to the nearest Mexican consulate and they will process them for you. The fee
are based on the exchange rate and are usually under $50US
When you make a port, the
skipper and the entire crew must take the clearance papers and tourist cards first to the
immigration office and then the Port Captain's office, then back again to the immigration
office to drop off a copy signed by the Port Captain. We know of a skipper who took
his boat and one crew member to Ensenada, while the second crew member drove down.
Unfortunately, he took all the tourist cards with him to Immigration and had to bring the
road crew back to the office when she arrived. They wanted proof that she wasn't
lost overboard! But it was a good safeguard and very reassuring to her family!
There is usually a port fee and may be based on the size of your boat. Small money
denominations are suggested, they don't like to make change.
The port captain normally
inspects boats on arrival and advises on the required
procedure and the order of offices to be visited. Officials
do not work at weekends. Boats are anchored inside the
breakwater or taken to one of the marinas inside the harbor.
The Port Captain's office
is located on the west side of the breakwater channel into
Puerto Madero, so it is easier to land your dinghy along the
west beach in the turning basin, and walk over. The API
office is now east of the parking lot off the north
basin. You can handle your own port clearance here or
use the services offered by any of the marinas.
Another stop should be the
Customs office for a Temporary Import Permit if you are going farther south or are going
to leave your boat in Mexico for any length of time. Take the following
1.Vessel Ownership Title, or lease agreement if applicable.
2. Identification verifying that the vessel's owner is a legal resident of a foreign
3.Tourist Entry Form.
The fee ranges from $10 to $100 U.S. fee which can be paid by credit card or post a
bond to BANEJERCITO for the value of the vessel. This allows the Mexicans to track a
vessel and ensure that it is not sold illegally in their country. Although
sporadically checked, you probably will need it when you clear out of Mexico.