If you are bringing your boat of more than four and a half meters long into Mexico for any reason, you will most probably need Mexico boat liability insurance. Water transportation in Mexico can be tricky because of the political repercussions. Among the documents you need to enter Mexican waters are:

  • Proof of ownership or lease agreement in your name
  • Proof of residency or citizenship in the US or other foreign country
  • Tourist card or Forma Migratoria Múltiple (FMM)
  • Temporary Import Permit (TIP) or Importacion Temporal de Embarcaciones for the vessel (if by sea) or the trailer (if over land)
  • Clearance from the original point of departure if bringing in the boat by sea or title of the trailer if entering by land

Getting a clearance from the point of departure that is acceptable can be difficult depending on which side of Mexico you are entering. If you are on the Pacific coast, you may just need a marina receipt. If entering on the Caribbean side, you will need a zarpe (vessel clearance and exit statements) stamped by any Customs office in the US before embarking for Mexico. The zarpe is normally reserved for commercial vessels so you may have some difficulty obtaining this. To minimize problems, it is recommended that you enter the Pacific side of Mexico arriving by sea.

To get a TIP, you will need valid Mexico boat liability insurance, just like for bringing a car into Mexico by land. The processing for the TIP can be begun online if you are a resident of the US or Canada, and will take about a week, so plan ahead. To get a TIP, you need to show proof that you have a valid Mexico boat liability insurance as well as for your vehicle if you are towing the boat in a trailer. The TIP is valid for ten years and allows multiple entries.

Required documents (have originals and 5 copies of each handy) for a TIP include:

  • Current vessel registration papers
  • Passports of everybody on board
  • Mexico boat liability insurance
  • Fishing licenses for everybody on board if you have fishing gear, even if you don’t plan to go on fishing (obtainable online)
  • FMM for all crew members
  • List of crew members
  • Notarized permission letter for minors not accompanied by both parents

It is important to note that your insurance policy in the US is not a valid Mexico boat liability insurance in case of an accident. It is recommended to be ready with your Mexico boat insurance liability policy as it will be required to get your TIP. Moreover, you should have a comprehensive policy in case of an accident, you will want to be covered for liability for third party injuries and property damage, as well as cover the cost of repairing or replacing your vessel.

If you plan to enjoy the waters off the coast of Mexico, you should have Mexico boat liability insurance that will be in effect while outside US waters to avoid legal problems.