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Old 29-11-2022, 15:58   #1
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Urgent request from local boaters

I don't have a lot of options. Short story: My sailboat is anchored offshore of Tijuana. I was deported from Mexico. I am in San Diego. If anyone is willing to sail me to my boat so I can retrieve it, I can pay you the 1700 pesos I have left. The consulate recommended I do this if I don't leave the water.
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Old 29-11-2022, 16:42   #2
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Re: Urgent request from local boaters

So you are deported but you still want to enter Mexican waters, that sounds like risking jail time. Why not pay a captain to bring your boat to you?
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Old 29-11-2022, 16:58   #3
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Re: Urgent request from local boaters

I gotta ask, what did you do to get deported from Mexico to the US?.

I am not aware of an anchorage off Tijuana.

Best of luck.
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Old 29-11-2022, 17:32   #4
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Re: Urgent request from local boaters

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Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
I gotta ask, what did you do to get deported from Mexico to the US?.

I am not aware of an anchorage off Tijuana.

Best of luck.
Obviously did not pay the bribe. LOL.
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Old 29-11-2022, 17:48   #5
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Re: Urgent request from local boaters

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So you are deported but you still want to enter Mexican waters, that sounds like risking jail time. Why not pay a captain to bring your boat to you?
I emailed the consulate. They called and recommended doing what I've said. As long as I'm not on land.
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Old 29-11-2022, 17:49   #6
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Re: Urgent request from local boaters

I left my boat, that's all. They said my passport was not enough.
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Old 29-11-2022, 19:31   #7
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Re: Urgent request from local boaters

I guess you have never sailed internationally or to Mexico, and don't know the requirements? No, your passport is not enough. There is a fair amount of paperwork and money that needs to change hands for you to enter Mexico via sailboat. Further, Tijuana is not a port of entry, and you can't do the paperwork there. It is illegal to land there without having checked it elsewhere, as you found out.

You are in a potentially bad spot. Your best option very well might be to quickly, quietly, and discretely, reclaim your boat. It probably is illegal and could result in jailtime if you get caught, but the alternative may be to not see your boat again. Note that your boat being anchored in Mexico without obtaining a Mexican TIP is illegal also, and grounds for Mexico to seize it.

Assuming you get your boat out of Mexico, you would also need to not get caught re-entering the US, as you would be doing so without the proper Mexican paperwork. I don't know how closely customs watches the boarder, but given drug trafficking, if you don't clear in with customs, they might come and visit you. If you sign up for "CBP Roam" you could reasonably check in on your phone and not have to show the paperwork to a customs official. You will need to buy a decal for your boat.

Can you reenter Mexico via a land crossing, or are you now blacklisted? Maybe doing that, and paying a fisherman or something to drop you off on your boat? Do you have copies of the registration/USCG document, or is it all on the boat?

Sorry about the situation and I wish you luck.
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Old 29-11-2022, 19:36   #8
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Re: Urgent request from local boaters

I said twice that what I said is what was recommended to me by the consulate in Mexico. It is not illegal for me to retrieve my boat by water.
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Old 29-11-2022, 20:24   #9
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Re: Urgent request from local boaters

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I said twice that what I said is what was recommended to me by the consulate in Mexico. It is not illegal for me to retrieve my boat by water.
Do you have a Zarpe? If a non-Mexican boat, is your TIP in order? If answer to either is 'no,' It may be illegal for you to exit Mexican waters. Consulate probably has little influence over Capitania de Puerto. Those guys carry a lot of sway and can really make for a bad day. And I noticed consulate communicated verbally which I understand, but would be meaningless if confronted by an authority.

I really feel for you. But you're asking a lot - someone could potentially put their boat at risk. If you found someone, maybe they'd be okay with sailing within a quarter mile of your boat, and you jump off and swim.

Good luck.
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Old 29-11-2022, 21:23   #10
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Re: Urgent request from local boaters

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I said twice that what I said is what was recommended to me by the consulate in Mexico. It is not illegal for me to retrieve my boat by water.
With all due respect, and I really feel for your situation which was certainly by accident, the consulate has no idea or authority in your situation. It certainly wasn't smart to go to a foreign country, one with whom there is a significant drug and human smuggling problem with, unannounced and without the proper paperwork in order.

To do this legally, you need to contact the Capitania de Puerto and Bajercito. There might not be a Port Captain in Tijuana, but Bajercito certainly is. You could probably visit the Bajercito at the border from the American side. It might involve a Mexican lawyer, cost a lot of money, and take a long time. I know that some sailors who had issues with a TIP (temporary import permit-required to bring a boat to Mexico) have spent years to clear it up and there are Lawyers who specialize in fixing them. Bajercito might just take your boat and tell you "no", them considering it might have been used in a smuggling operation and thus a lawful confiscation. If you want to do it legally, be sincere that it was an accident, don't argue, tell them you are willing to do whatever is required and don't complain about it.

Probably the best thing is to take it back illegally, just know what the consequences are if you get caught. Is the boat still there? If authorities knew you landed there without paperwork, it might be gone already. If not from Bajercito, from locals who are known to strip unattended boats of anything of value in a day or so. If I were in your situation, I would be trying to get across the border by land to get to my boat as quickly as possible.
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Old 30-11-2022, 01:49   #11
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Re: Urgent request from local boaters

Following along
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Old 30-11-2022, 02:28   #12
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Re: Urgent request from local boaters

Looks like you are right by the border.

Can you not get a dinghy and row/motor to your boat at night?
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Old 30-11-2022, 03:07   #13
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Re: Urgent request from local boaters

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So you are deported but you still want to enter Mexican waters, that sounds like risking jail time. Why not pay a captain to bring your boat to you?
All for the princely sum of $88USD (1700peso)?

Unfortunately, the OP is in a tough spot. I'm betting he's looking at least a few thousand (USD), to clear this up and that's if it was an honest mistake and no officials feelings were hurt in the process. If they deported him rather than put him back on his boat and told him to go north 5 miles to US waters, I'm guessing at a minimum some feelings were hurt.

I would get on the phone and contact the folks who deported you, APPOLOGIZE PROFUSELY and BEG for their guidance on how you can retrieve your boat. I can guarantee, sailing into Mexican waters to take it back without checking in will turn very ugly if you are caught and there is a lot of drug surveillance in the area. Depending on what the "rest of the story" is, you might get some assistance (or not).

But get it in writing from an official. Saying you called someone at the embassy and they said to do something that sounds very stupid isn't likely to get you out of the Tijuana jail cell.

And then there is the question of where the boat really is? I'm not too familiar with the area but looking at the map, I don't see anything like a harbor in the vicinity.
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Old 30-11-2022, 05:07   #14
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Re: Urgent request from local boaters

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.....And then there is the question of where the boat really is? I'm not too familiar with the area but looking at the map, I don't see anything like a harbor in the vicinity.
That's because there is no harbor for 50+ miles, and no anchorage of any consequence except on Islas de Los Coronadoes 10 miles west of Tijuana, which are controlled by the Mexican Navy. You can anchor, fish, and dive, but cannot step foot on the islands (not great anchorages).

If you try to enter Mexico with goods/cash in excess of certain thresholds without paying tax and are caught, you will be turned-away at the border. Open question is whether or not your smuggled goods and conveyance (car) are confiscated. Off in the corner of these border crossings (San Ysidro and Otay Mesa, two of the busiest border crossings in the world) are lots with confiscated vehicles gathering dust. As you can imagine, trying to retrieve confiscated property would be dealt with harshly, quickly, and quietly (meaning you'd have no voice). Would be akin to breaking into a police evidence locker. Unlike America, Mexico system of law is not underpinned by presumption of innocence.

The OP is vague on everything. It's hard to imagine a scenario where retrieving his boat is not a crime, and assisting him in doing so would not be considered a crime subjecting you and your boat to the same consequences the OP has muddled into.

Tijuana is a huge city, well over a million people. Would be a good backdrop for a remake of Midnight Express, the old movie about a drug smugglers experience in a Turkish prison.
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Old 30-11-2022, 09:50   #15
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Re: Urgent request from local boaters

I'm not being vague. It's what happened. I just made a mistake after not resting well over the evening. A mistake that cost me everything. My whole life is on the boat. I've already accepted it's all gone. I had a lot of time to think about it at Immigration overnight. If I can't get help, I will walk halfway across the US to home if I have to, and start over again at the age of 41. I don't want to stay here so long and become just another homeless in California.
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