TIPs (Temporary Import Permits) and the Journal of Ir-reproducible Results
There used to be a journal for soft sciences like anthropology and sociology called the Journal of Ir-reproducible Results. It was for experiments where there could be no scientific confirmation under the rigors of the scientific method because the results from the experiment were not reproducible. Each time the experiment was run a different result followed.
This posting is about our most recent encounter with Banjercito and registering our boat under the Temporary Import Permit process here in Mexico. That process is the bane of many cruisers in Mexico and difficulties with how it is interpreted led to over 300 boats being ‘seized’ in Mexico last year for ‘errors’ in their TIPs.
The many issues with this process last year can be found by searching the Lectronic Latitude 38 online sailing magazine. We have never had a problem with the process. Indeed, there are at least two postings in this blog on the process of modifying a TIP document to stay current with the listed items on your boat while in Mexican waters. Most of our experience has been with the Banjercito and Aduana offices in Pichilingue which is just north-east of La Paz.
So when we found a big poster on the door of the Yacht Club restrooms at Marina La Cruz from the agencies who administer the program, telling all cruisers that they had only ’till the 31 of December to get their TIPs updated to reflect any changes or additions, we went …. big sigh … time to go ‘there’ again.
The issue according to the morning radio net among the cruisers was registration of dingy and outboard. Spiritus had an inflatable dingy and a 3.5 hp Tohatsu outboard that have never been listed in the boat’s equipment list. It was an oversight that happened in the initial permit process in Ensenada in the 2012 Baja Ha Ha. The official there told me that the dingy and outboard were not required to be on the list. Good enough.
Turns out now, evidently, they are.
So, since we are somewhat familiar with this process. We type up a letter in Spanish, detailing what we want to add to the existing TIP. Usually, this is a simple process with no cost associated with it. You file and register a simple supplement to the list, an amendment.
We find out where the office for Banjercito is in Puerto Vallarta. We gather all receipts and proofs that the dingy and motor were on the boat when we entered Mexican waters two years ago.
We hop on the bus.
The day is December 18, 2014. That is the last normal thing that happened to us all day.
The story I will unfold now is (I swear) true. I am telling it to the best of my ability. It is about three boats, each with an unregistered dingy and outboard, three experienced cruisers with three existing TIP documents. It is also about three absolutely different outcomes from the same process. All cruisers were in the same office in La Cruz within eight hours of each other and all dealt with the same small staff.
The first boat, ours, requested a supplemental addition to our existing TIP. We were told that no, the motor and dingy could not be added. It would require a new TIP (cost $51.00 plus 16% = 800 pesos more or less). We were told to surrender our old TIP which still had eight years on it. We got a new TIP with 8 years on it.
The old one listed all items on our boat that were required to be listed except the motor and outboard. The new TIP lists Spiritus and the dingy … no outboard was added in spite of our request to add it. No other items are listed. Thank God we still have a photo copy of the OLD TIP.
Boat two was there at approximately the same time.
Boat two got an amended TIP. No cost. They ‘added’ their dingy and outboard motor to the list of boat items. They left with their OLD TIP and the amendment.
Boat three arrived sometime after we left. Boat three requested to add the dingy and outboard motor to the boats existing TIP. They were told “No” you did not need to add them because “we do not require them to be listed in Mexico.” They left with their OLD TIP.
I write this because frankly I am past puzzled. All of this came out the next morning when I asked over the morning net to talk to someone familiar with the TIP process. Turns our from talking to the other boats being familiar with the process does not guarantee a predictable outcome. Hence the title of this piece.
So we have a NEW TIP that you see above. We are now headed to La Paz which I am told requires that the dingy and outboard motor be listed.
Evidently, this is a Federal document with local interpretations of what is required.