To TIP or not to TIP
To be able to permanently dock your yacht in Mexico you need to obtain a Temporary Import Permit (TIP). A TIP will allow you to keep your vessel in Mexican waters for up to 10 years, and it allows you to make multiple trips into and out of Mexican territorial waters. The process of acquiring this permit is rather simple, if you have the correct information, and begin the process ahead of time.
Who wants a Corvette or a Can-Am ATV that is limited to land when you buy a boat and explore the world by sea. Cruising offers the ultimate “off road” experiences. Imagine cruising down the exotic tropical coastlines of Mexico on the Pacific or in the Gulf, and anchoring offshore of a small village and taking your dinghy to shore to interact with the locals. Nothing beats watching the sun rise or set while at sea in your own boat, not to mention looking up at the stars on a clear night with no other lights around. Plus, if you bring your paddleboards, snorkeling, or scuba diving equipment the amount of fun above and below the ocean’s surface becomes endless.
It is easier to TIP before you get to Mexico.
Before you attempt to come into Mexican waters to enjoy all of these activities, you better make sure you have a temporary import permit for your vessel. These permits are good for 10 years and the vessel can go into and out of Mexican waters multiple times with it. Depending on the method you choose to go about obtaining the permit it will only cost from $44 to $52 USD. Not a bad deal for 10 years of future adventures in Mexican waters! The only documents you need to provide in order to get the permit are the original vessel registration and your identification. This process can be completed ahead of time at any Mexican consulate in the US or Canada, online at the following link: https://www.banjercito.com.mx/registroVehiculos/ , or at the CIITEV division of the Custom’s offices when you arrive at a Mexican port. Just remember to always keep the original copy of the permit on your vessel or be prepared to face legal action from the Mexican authorities.
Mexican Liability Insurance too?
Besides a temporary import permit there is another item that Mexican authorities require you to have in order to start cruising in their waters. That is Mexican Boat Liability Insurance. This liability insurance is mandatory and MUST be underwritten by an insurance company domiciled in Mexico. The coverage will indemnify you for property damage or bodily injury due to a collision with another vessel or a fixed dock or pier with your boat. This insurance is very affordable and the cost of it is far less than fines you will have to pay for not having it, or expenses you will have to pay to 3rd-parties in the event of an accident. Make sure your Mexican vessel liability policy includes coverage for your yacht tender. Many policies do not!
Be sure to stay current on weather forecasts while traveling, make sure that there is enough lighting on your vessel while anchored at night, and always be aware of other vessels around you. There is no reason why you cannot have lots of fun at sea or in port and stay safe at the same time. The main objective is to enjoy yourself as much as possible. Part of the enjoyment is having piece of mind that you are operating your boat in Mexico legally and are protected from any unforeseen situations. Get out there and experience everything that the crystal-clear waters and the friendly and helpful people of Mexico have to offer!