Posted by: adventuressetravels | April 8, 2011

Customs and Traditions

Mexico isn’t a cheap place to visit anymore.  It used to be, not that I know from experience, but I remember hearing about all the amazing deals to be found in our neighbors south of the border.  Apparently this era is long over, at least on the Yucatan peninsula.  Sure, Tulum, Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Punta Allen and the rest are in the more tourist-friendly part of Mexico but still; I was not expecting to find comparable prices to the US in Mexico.  Worse still is how the government will start to really crack down on private boats starting in 2012.

In most countries, boats, both private and commercial,  need to check into customs and border protection before leaving the country.  No big deal, just a checkout where an official signs the form stating port of exit, destination port, and departure date.

The US, has this form; it’s called Customs and Border Protection Form 1300, the problem is that it isn’t required to leave the US.  Many boaters have no idea they’re supposed to get one signed or where to get one.  Most customs officers aren’t even aware they should be signing the form either which can lead to problems.

Apparently the captain has had problems with customs officer refusing to sign one of these forms.  If this happens then boaters need to find another option.

If the US doesn’t require this exit form, why is it so important to get one signed?

As of 2012 all boats entering Mexico who fail to present the exit document, or Zarpe, as they are called in Mexico, will be fined $5,000.

The port captain explained the form gives a better idea of where the boat has been and is another security check against boats stopping off for drug pick-ups.

Luckily, Mexico accepts any official signatures, from customs officers to coast guard officer which makes things significantly easier.  Though finding officers to sign the exit papers may be a bit of a challenge, better safe than sorry.  Make the extra effort and print one out and getting it signed before you leave the US.  Especially if your boat is headed for Mexico, but really sailing anywhere; if one country has started this fine then others can’t be far behind.

Form 1300 is available online border protection website.

Vessel Entry Form

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