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Mexican Government Goes Insane, Seizes U.S. Boats

Coral Marina (Peter Swanson)

Hundreds of cruisers with boats docked in marinas (such as this one) throughout Mexico had their vessels boarded and subsequently impounded by the SAT — Mexico’s IRS— during the course of several weeks after a crackdown by officials.

Starting in early December, a total of 338 boats are reported to have been impounded for not having documents required for tourists to bring boats to Mexico, according to the The Log Newspaper.

Two Americans docked at Island Global Yachting Cabo San Lucas Marina had their vessel impounded when they were unable to provide the original Temporary Importation Permit after SAT agents boarded the vessel and asked to see the documentation, according to attorney Jose Antonio Gomez.

Although Gomez’s clients had a printed copy of their 10-year Temporary Importation Permits — the document that tourists must apply for with Mexican Customs before bringing a vessel across to Mexico’s waters — the agents responded by impounding their boat. His clients flew to California, retrieved the original permit and delivered it to the marina the following day, Gomez said.

“It’s been at least 30 days and nothing has happened. My boat is still impounded,” one victim told The Log. The source asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution from the Mexican agency.

Mexico has recently begun to strictly enforce regulations regarding Hull Identification Number display requirements.

Two identical HINs are required to be displayed on each boat hull. A primary HIN must be mounted to the starboard outboard side of the transom within two inches of the top of the transom, gunwale, or deck joint — whichever is lowest.

The duplicate HIN must be displayed in an unexposed location on the interior of the boat or beneath a fitting or item of hardware.

According to Gomez, 300 agents were involved in the crackdown last month and 15 additional boats were reportedly impounded from the same marina that day.

Another victim, who also wanted to have his name withheld until the situation is resolved, says he is not allowed to board his boat, which is being held at Cabo San Lucas.

Officials say they expect the boats to be released today, but did not commit to that timeframe.