How To Visit Mexico By Private Boat

Loreto IslandBig game trollingABOUT FISHING IN MEXICO

Every vessel in Mexican waters carrying fishing gear must obtain a sports fishing license for each person onboard the vessel. A sports license is not required for fishing from shore. Anglers in ocean waters may use as many fishing rods/reels at the same time as desired. In inland waters, only one rod/reel may be used at any one time per fisherman. In both instances, the catch limits dictated by law must be observed. A sportfishing license allows the angler to catch fish only; shellfish or crustaceans are strictly prohibited; the only exception is squid. Also, totoaba, turtles, marine mammals, reptiles, and amphibians are protected by federal law and must be avoided. For bottom fishing, only up to four hooks may be used in a vertical line. Electric powered reels may be used by persons with disabilities, and a special permit must be obtained from the authorities.

• In ocean waters and estuaries, up to TEN FISH, with a maximum of five fish of the same species.
• Marlin, sailfish, swordfish, shark, and giant sea bass, the limit is ONE total— which will count as five of the same species.
• Dorado, roosterfish or snook, Gulf grouper or bluefin tuna, the limit is TWO total — which will count as five of the same species.
• Squid. The limit is FIVE per angler per day
• Inland, freshwater. The total limit is FIVE fish either of the same or different species.
• Underwater fishing. Only when free diving — no tank, and using a harpoon equipped with a rubber band, coil or pneumatic.
• Catch and Release. There is no limit if the catch is released in good condition for survival.
• Three days or longer — fishing from a vessel. The accumulated maximum number of catches per angler will be three times the daily limit as mentioned above.

Baja trust fund


FONMAR is a trust fund established by the Government of the State of Baja California Sur, to ease the process of obtaining Sport Fishing licenses, as well as the lawful enforcement and supervision of this great sport in order to maintain and enrich the wonderful and unique sea life found in these waters. Fonmar’s website, is a secure and easy way to obtain your permit to fish in Mexico. All you need to do is enter your name(s), license term, and start date and you will be directed to a secure banking site to add your credit card information — once the transaction is complete you’ll receive an email confirmation and receipt, and a popup with the link to download and print your permits.

FONMAR also promotes Sport Fishing on local, national, and international levels and provides funding for research and education at authorized academic and scientific centers to assist in the preservation of our oceans.

Baja California Sur Fishing seasons:

Baja species list

Baja yachts

Mexcio IMN logo




The Instituto Nacional de Migración (National Immigration Institute) is the government arm required by Mexican Law to oversee foreign individuals visiting Mexico. INM has created a new PRE-TRAVEL simplified process in order to facilitate the documentation of those individuals wanting to visit Mexico by boat and wishing to engage in recreational activities, including sport fishing, whale watching, diving, and cruising — among others. The process involves the completion of three simple steps that may be completed BEFORE departing for Mexico, as outlined within this brochure.


Government agency logos

The Maritime Authority works through MARINA (Secretariat of the Navy), to oversee compliance with the regulations issued by the IMO, in order to guarantee protected, efficient, and safe maritime passages.

Provides Banking and Credit services to members of the Army, Air Force and Navy, and the General Public, and oversees the online services allowing payments for the temporary import of vehicles and boats.

An arm of the Mexican government which controls and supervises migration in the country.

The Mexican tax authority is responsible for the supervision of compliance with tax and customs legislation.

The Mexican Navy is one of the two independent armed forces of Mexico. The naval forces are called the Armada de México. The Secretaría de Marina (MARINA) (Secretariat of the Navy) includes both the Armada and ministerial and civil service.

CONAPESCA is a decentralized body of SADER (Ministry of Agriculture) committed to legality, quality, and transparency, in charge of fostering and developing coordination with various entities to implement policies, programs and regulations that lead and facilitate the development _ competitive and sustainable, of the fishing and aquaculture sector of the country.

CONANP is the institution responsible for safeguarding the areas with the greatest biodiversity in Mexico.


NOTE: These steps MUST be completed by individuals PRIOR to cruising in territorial Mexican waters for any length of time WITHOUT GOING ASHORE. e.g. visiting the Coronado Islands, fishing ventures, offshore cruising, etc.


Visit the following Internet portal to apply for entry to Mexico and pay the required fees:  or check out

For additional information visit:

Follow the instructions and save the electronic receipt. You will need it when you e-mail the passenger list to INM in the next step. Also, print out a copy to keep with you on the boat.

The following information must be provided:

  1. Passport number of the person responsible for the vessel
  2. Vessel Documentation (State or Federal Documentation).
  3. A $575 Mexican Pesos fee per each visiting foreigner as required by the Federal Fee Act (Ley Federal de Derechos), Article 8, Section I. The fee must be paid using a credit card for each person INDIVIDUALLY. Group payments are not allowed.


Download and complete the spreadsheet with the information of the vessel and passengers from:

Here you will find the following:

  • A Sample Form (spreadsheet) for submission of a list of maritime passengers and crew members — delete the sample information and insert your passenger list. Save it to your computer following the instructions on the web page including how to name the file correctly.
  • A guide for filling the Form for the submission of a list of maritime passengers and crew members
  • An e-mail Directory/List of INM Ports addresses for submission of lists of maritime passengers and crew members.


E-mail the completed spreadsheet to INM and a copy of your receipt (See STEP TWO above, 3rd bullet, on how to find the correct e-mail address)

As an example, if you are leaving from Southern California you should send the e-mail to the Ensenada INM Office at [email protected].

Once the visitor information outlined above is sent to INM, INM will e-mail you back the entry authorization (or denial) to the individuals intending to enter Mexico’s territorial waters onboard the given vessel. The document must always be kept aboard the vessel along with the receipt of payment.

The receipt must be presented to the Mexican Immigration Authorities at the first Port of Entry in exchange for each individual’s FMM (see next page for additional information).

  • The authorizing e-mail will also contain INM’s permit to enter as a Visitor Without Permission to Perform Activities for Profit (i.e. work for income/profit).
  • The length of the stay will be the amount of time requested by the applicant, but shall not exceed 180 days, and cannot be used for multiple entries and departures.
  • A copy of your information will be sent to the Secretary of the Navy (MARINA) and to the Port Captain.

Mexico emergency numbersU.S. Passport

Mexico Mutiple FMM


  • Every vessel entering Mexico must carry ORIGINAL current Vessel Documentation or Registration that proves ownership; this means Federally Documented vessels will need to present a USCG Certificate of Documentation, and undocumented vessels will need to have a valid State Registration. Foreign flag vessels from Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Republic of Marshall Islands, Japan, etc., will require a current Certificate of Registry.
  • All vessels registered under a Corporation or LLC, or when the legal owner is not on board, are required to have an original notarized letter on board authorizing the Master or Representative to operate the vessel.

The Boat Captain or Master must present proof of competency for recreational boaters (example: Captains License, State Boating Card, or International Certificate for Operators of Pleasure Craft (ICC).


All vessels larger than 4.5m (15ft) are required to have a Temporary Import Permit (TIP) when in Mexico. The ORIGINAL TIP must always be on board the vessel.

A TIP may be obtained from the following sources:

  1. Online prior to your departure for Mexico. Apply between sixty days and seven days before you depart at
  2. At the first Mexican official Port of Entry in Mexico, available at any Banjercito CIITEV office at one of the following Mexican Ports of Entry, as well as Border Entry Ports:
  • Acapulco * Coatzacualcos * Ensenada * Guaymas * La Paz * Lazaro Cardenas * Manzanillo * Mazatlan * Pichilingue * Puerto Juarez * Puerto Vallarta * Salina Cruz * Tampico * Veracruz
  1. You may also acquire the TIP at the following Mexican Consulates:
  • CALIFORNIA: Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Bernardino
  • ARIZONA: Phoenix
  • TEXAS: Austin, Dallas, Houston
  • COLORADO: Denver
  • ILLINOIS: Chicago
  • NEW MEXICO: Albuquerque

Mexico Travel information form


A TIP is valid for 10 years from the issue date, allowing for multiple entries during this period.

A new Temporary Import Permit – TIP- may be requested for an additional 10 years for the same vessel as long as it is processed within 45 days prior to the permit’s expiration date, by internet, through, or at any of the CIITEV centers, without the need for the vessel’s inspection; plus, there is no need to submit Exit papers if renewing the TIP within 45 prior to the TIP’s expiration date.

If the vessel will be leaving Mexico BY LAND:
The vessel must be made available for inspection to the Customs Officials at the Port of Entry chosen to exit Mexico. The authorized individual must be present at the same time and must show the original Import Permit (TIP) and the Mobil Accessory List.

If the vessel will be leaving Mexico BY SEA on its own bottom:
The owner may cancel the TIP by surrendering the original and a copy of the following documents:

  • Port Captain clearance
  • Mobil Accessory List
  • Original TIP

TIP (Temporary Import Permit) If the vessel will be leaving Mexico AS CARGO on a Yacht Transport Ship: The TIP may be canceled at the Banjercito office. The cargo manifest, indicating the vessel characteristics (name, registration, or HIN), must be submitted.

If the vessel does not have a Temporary Import Permit “TIP” on board or fails to exit Mexico prior to its expiration, the vessel will be considered to be in Mexican territory illegally and may be subject to fines and/or confiscation by Customs Authorities. Temporarily Imported Vessels cannot be sold in Mexico, and chartering requires Mexican permits.

Mexico Bank receipt

INSURANCE All vessels in Mexican waters are required to show proof of valid Liability Insurance. Check your policy to make sure the vessel is covered in the areas you will be cruising and visiting.

NOTE: The above documents may be sent via registered mail to the Banjercito Central Offices or to a CIITEV office at any Port of Entry.

Mexican Customs Officials will also accept the “Vessel Entrance or Clearance Statement” issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection as proof that a vessel left Mexico and will facilitate the cancellation of the Temporary Import Permit.



A vessel must clear-in when entering Mexico at the first official Port of Entry. The clear-in process is as follows:

  1. Complete the Crew List Document.Mexico Travel Clearance form
  2. b. Go to the Immigration Office and get the Crew List properly stamped and have FMMs (Forma Migratoria Multiple) issued for all
  3. c. Go to the Port Captain’s Office with the completed form to pay the Clear-In Fee and have the document duly authorized and stamped. In some ports, you may be required to pay a Port Use Fee with the API (Port Administrator).


  • If you are navigating from one Mexican port to another, all you will require is that you inform the Harbor Master or marina of your arrival or departure by means of an “Aviso” [Notification].
  • Depending on the Harbor Master’s office, some may require written notification, while others allow a verbal one via VHF, channel 16.
  • In some ports, you must pay a Port Use Fee when arriving and anchoring (if you anchor out). These fees are paid to the API (The Port Administration).


IMPORTANT: Do not skip the clear-out process, since the next time you visit Mexico, your information may show that you never left the country, and therefore, you are in Mexico illegally.

A vessel must clear-out when leaving Mexico at the last official Port of Exit.

IMPORTANT: You will also need your last exit paperwork when canceling or renewing your TIP.

The clear-out of Mexico process is as follows:

  1. Complete the Crew List for exiting Mexico (“Despacho,” previously known as “Zarpe.”)
  2. Go to the Immigration Office to get the Crew List stamped and surrender the FMM forms.
  3. Go to the Port Captain’s Office to pay the Vessel’s Check-out fees and have the crew list stamped with the authorization to exit the country of Mexico. The Boat Captain or Master must present proof of Competency for recreational boaters (example: Captains License, Safe Boating Card, or International Certificate for Operators of Pleasure Craft (ICC).


The Reserve falls under the jurisdiction of [The Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources] [The National Commission of Protected Natural Areas].:

Mexico Government logo

Mexico Park Passport

If you plan to visit any of these awe-inspiring sites, you must obtain a “Conservation Passport” prior to arrival at any of the marine or land-based parks. The easiest way to obtain a Conservation Passport is by downloading the app to your smartphone, search for Pasaporte de la Conservacion and purchase the Passport; the cost at this writing is $383 MXN per person; free for children six and under and persons with disabilities.

View and download Maps of the Protected Natural Areas in Mexico:

Once you have purchased the Passport, simply take a screenshot; the digital shot or original must be available for inspection at any time during your visit to any of the sites. The passport may also be obtained from any ANP office or online.

Baja whale

The passport is valid for one year from the date of purchase. The proceeds from the Passport help in the preservation of these unique, but fragile natural environments, plus the protection and economic growth of the local communities. During your visit to any of these magical sites, we ask you to follow the directions and rules designed to enhance and preserve these treasures. The Baja California Peninsula National Parks (NPA) include Guadalupe Island, Pacific Islands of Baja California (Coronado’s, Todos Santos, San Martin, Cedros, Benitos, Magdalena), Revillagigedo, Valle de Los Cirios, Vizcaino, Cabo San Lucas, Cabo Pulmo, Espiritu Santo, Loreto, Bahia de Los Angeles, among others in Southern Mexico.


That Baja Guy-Gary Graham, the BD Outdoors Baja Editor, has more than five decades fishing experience off of Southern California and the Baja Peninsula. From light tackle and fly up to offshore marlin fishing, Gary has experienced all facets of this fishery. He's set several fly-fishing world record...