Monday, December 23, 2013

338 BOATS UNDER PRECAUTIONARY SEIZURE! Written by Craig Chamberlain

Strap in, this is a long one regarding the boats currently detained in marinas throughout Mexico.

Here is my understanding of what is required to operate a yacht in Mexican territorial waters. ALL foreign vessels located in a marina should have these documents available for inspection at all times in the marina manager’s office and maintain copies aboard the yacht as well;

As the owner of Novamar Insurance Group in the U.S. with hundreds of yachts insured in Mexico AND someone who has formed two Mexican corporations, I would like to chime in on the current situation regarding yachts being detained in marinas throughout Mexico. I completely understand the emotion this invokes – especially to have this unfold as we start the holiday season. When laws that have been on the books for years are suddenly enforced without warning, it creates quite a stir. Laws many foreigners are unaware of and, in some cases, are not applied evenly or correctly by authorities. Similar situations have occurred over recent years in many of the E.U. member nations causing heartburn for visiting boaters there as well. 

It is my understanding when the authorities did their sweep of the marinas, some of the boats did not have all proper paperwork filed in the marina office(s). The documents may have never been there, had expired, were lost, misfiled, who really knows. When the authorities went from boat to boat to give boatowners the opportunity to produce the documents and no one was aboard, the boat was put a non-compliance list. The authorities may have overlooked or misinterpreted some documents as well.

It is my personal opinion the best way forward is to acknowledge to the authorities there was a breakdown in the document trail somewhere, educate boaters what is required of them before they arrive in Mexico with their boats. So they have the required documents ready to present to every marina manager when they check in. I think marina managers can and will work with boatowners as it is in their best interest to get this situation resolved ASAP. 

The following documents are what we understand is required by a visiting yacht in Mexico. They should be filed with every marina the yacht enters AND these same documents should be kept aboard at all times while in Mexico: 

Temporary Importation Permit (TIP), current vessel document, copy of the vessel’s Mexican Liability Insurance Policy, passport of the owner, and a crew list from the last port. If the vessel is corporately owned, or if someone other than the owner is in charge of the vessel, a letter is required from the owner authorizing the captain to act on behalf of the owner. The vessel owner/captain should also check in with the port captain upon entering each harbor (each harbor that actually has a port captain). Make sure the correct hull I.D. and document numbers are referenced on ALL documents. Typos are not excused.

This is more than a pain in the neck for anyone with a boat stuck in a marina somewhere, but these are the same laws that have been on the books for years. I would not want to diminish the heightened emotions this has evoked. However, as someone once said to a friend hitting on his wife at a party aboard his boat, “you can have my wife or a have a party on my boat but not both”. They all three laughed and the party continued. Hopefully this situation can resolved quickly, respectfully, and in a similar manner, so those affected by this can resume enjoying all that is so wonderful about Mexico. 

Just my two cents worth-Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Feel free to share with your friends.

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