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Regulations on boats in Mexico

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Regulations on boats in Mexico Empty Regulations on boats in Mexico

Post by inthecolumbiagorge on Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:00 pm

Can anyone direct me to a website that has information about owning a boat in Mexico? I have searched and searched and I can't find much information, certainly not current.

We are looking at buying a 14-15 ft zodiak with a motor and are not permanent residents. In the US a boat under a certain length does not have to be licensed or registered. I am just looking for the rules on such things. We have Mexican national friends that could be licensed owners if necessary but I don't know if we would be legally allowed to use it or not:/

Would really appreciate it if anyone could tell me where to find any current information on owning a boat here!
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Post by slainte39 on Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:54 pm

If you don´t find a website, I believe there is a Harbormaster in Chapala and yacht clubs in Chapala and Ajijic that might have some information.
Is the boat you are considering already in Mexico or are you bringing it in from the US, if you are importing it then it becomes an Aduana question as well.

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Post by inthecolumbiagorge on Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:12 am

It is a boat already in Mexico owned by Mexican nationals. If the situation is similar to autos I probably cannot legally own it as we do not yet have our permanent visa status since we just retired and do not have the required 12 months of records of retirement income, but of course I am just speculating:/ We will be applying for permanent status when we have the proper financial documents to do so. We live on the lake and could moor the boat at our house and every day the lake beckons to us:-) We lived on the Columbia River in the PNW and had a boat. We are proficient boaters and have checked out everything we can find on boating on Lake Chapala but still I don't see what rules apply to boating here. We so would love to be able to access the water! I also wonder who patrols the lake or does anyone? Who enforces any boating rules? There are some local guys who go out every day in their row boat and use nets for fishing. No life jackets and they are bailing water out of the boat most of the time they are in the water:/ I have no idea if that is legal but have never seen anyone on the lake in our area except for them. I do see other boats on various parts of the lake however. I wonder if inflatable boats have the same rules as rigid boats? I don't want to break laws and I don't want to harm anything but I do want to be able to access this wonderful huge lake we live on:-)

I will search for the yacht club and see if I can get a hold of someone! Thanks so much for the info.
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Post by CanuckBob on Fri Oct 25, 2019 8:19 am

I believe if the boat has more than a 10hp motor it needs to be registered with the local port authority in Chapala. If 10hp or less it doesn't.

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Post by Trailrunner on Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:11 am

I believe CB is right, but you need to have a chat with the Harbor Master. I would start with the office in Chapala. I think it's still on Gonzalez Gallo a bit north of Cruz Roja. Others may know better. Legalities would be the least of my worries.

How are you planning on securing it in front of your house? I wouldn't put it in someone else's name, have a friend who did that out on the coast and it did not work out well for him.

Also, while this lake seems placid, shallow, and benign it has taken the lives of many, many people. It's loaded with underwater hazards from times when it was very low and people used it for livestock and agriculture and never removed the pens, trellises, trees etc when it filled up again. There are often strong winds and squalls that come up in the afternoon that can make returning to your dock challenging.

Talk to a lot of people, talk to the fire department and Cruz Roja they are the ones who perform the rescues and will have good advice for you. I don't doubt your abilities, but this lake is more than it appears. Suerte.
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Post by slainte39 on Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:34 pm

TR, your negativity is growing more rapidly and starting to show.
Not everything is going to turn out bad, even with drug cartels, home breakins, or a dangerous lake scratch
Try running ahead of that black cloud hovering over your head.  Beer

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Post by Lady Otter Latté on Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:35 pm

slainte39 wrote:TR, your negativity is growing more rapidly and starting to show.
Not everything is going to turn out bad, even with drug cartels, home breakins, or a dangerous lake scratch
Try running ahead of that black cloud hovering over your head.  Beer

When I read TR’s post I thought she offered helpful advice. It seems like good information for the OP to obtain.
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Post by slainte39 on Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:55 pm

It was, but I thought it was somewhat deflating for some one who was obviously finding a niche with some boating. I´m just generally more encouraging than most when someone wants to pursue a passion.
They´ve heard both sides now so I´ll let go……..just not that cautious.

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Post by inthecolumbiagorge on Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:36 am

Thanks for all the info and advice! I will look up the Harbormaster/port authority. We are aware of the hazards of boating on Lake Chapala and will be vigilant. The boat is an inflatable boat with a rigid bottom. It is probably a very good option for boating on Lake Chapala actually as it has very little draft and we will have a depth finder/fish finder that will alert us to underwater obstacles. I learned to boat on a large lake that got actual waves when the wind came up and for the last 20 years have been boating on the Columbia River that often has sustained 40 mile an hour winds. Nothing is without risk in this life and navigating the waters of Lake Chapala is a risk I am quite happy to take:-)
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Post by Trailrunner on Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:19 am

Jeez, Slainte. I think you should probably stop reading my posts. Just keep scrolling. Especially posts on eating a healthy diet, Mexican law enforcement, or climate change. I believe that will benefit your blood pressure.

I will give you a heads up first when I write about flowers, rainbows, or unicorns.

Remember! Just scroll!

Regulations on boats in Mexico 851398
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Post by Trailrunner on Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:26 am

I'm glad, ITCG, you are continuing to pursue your passion.
Have fun and be safe! It is beautiful out on the lake!
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Post by inthecolumbiagorge on Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:02 am

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Post by windrider17 on Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:05 pm

I sail on the lake. I have had very few issues as long as I am careful. The weather can change quickly, the lirio is a pain in the ass, and one has to be careful with nets, but most of the horrors I was warned about have never been a problem.

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Post by inthecolumbiagorge on Sat Oct 26, 2019 5:26 pm

A very appropriate handle you have then windrider17:-)
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Post by windrider17 on Sat Oct 26, 2019 6:26 pm

I never thought I'd have a trimaran but she is perfect for this lake and an aging sailor. Stable, pretty fast and a shallow draft. All controls to the back cockpit.

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Post by slainte39 on Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:21 pm

Trailrunner wrote:Jeez, Slainte. I think you should probably stop reading my posts. Just keep scrolling. Especially posts on eating a healthy diet, Mexican law enforcement, or climate change. I believe that will benefit your blood pressure.

I will give you a heads up first when I write about flowers, rainbows, or unicorns.

Remember! Just scroll!

Regulations on boats in Mexico 851398

No, you are not causing me any problems, 120/70. Just a light comment and I´m not going to quit reading your posts.  I will accept your take on things in stride and will make no further comment about your frame of mind.  It was just a personal observation with no intent of harm.  
We all have a different take on things and I agree with a lot of what you have to say.

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Post by inthecolumbiagorge on Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:07 pm

We did not buy the boat we were looking at:/ The photos they sent us had to have been when they first got it because it was very shabby and the trailer looked like it would fall apart if you blew on it:/ Still looking for a boat we can buy preferably here if anyone knows of one:-)
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Post by brigitte on Sat Nov 02, 2019 12:23 pm

Did you check the club de yates? Ask in Chapala and Floresta they may have something.

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Post by windrider17 on Sat Nov 02, 2019 5:50 pm

The Chapala club de yates is pricy and has a lot of rules. Nice place though.

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Post by brigitte on Sat Nov 02, 2019 6:42 pm

yes and they may have people who would like to sell their boats..I am not talking of memberships.

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Post by windrider17 on Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:44 pm

Good point. There are a good number of boats covered in dust and trailers with dry rot in the tires.

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