On the Docks: Black Listed Boats Agents are Selling in Puerto Vallarta.
One of the recent changes in Marina Vallarta is that we finally seem to have a honest Captain of the Port or Port Authority as many call them….
You probably remember me writing articles about how many, many fine charter fishing companies have gone under the last few years due to Pirate boats operating under a different set of rules than most legitimate fishing companies. By this I mean there have been many, many boats over the years that have not had the proper operational papers, safety Equipment like life preservers, radios or insurance! Now I am not kidding on this! What has happened in the past is this, the port authourity comes along and tells everyone they need to walk the straight and narrow. In reality he is telling all the boat owners and Captains that there is a new boss in the Marina and now they need to come make / pay their mordidas or bribes to operate to him! So nothing changes and the boats that don´t pay taxes, or for licenses or for insurance or even safety equipment have been able to charge hundreds of dollars a boat cheapter. Naturally this puts the Legitamate companies out of business, but in Mexico this is not a concern. The only concern is how much money they can put in their pocket at your expense. You can only imagine how you are taking your safety and the safety of your family for granted and in mexico you can´t sue! But of course people assume Mexico is like the United States or Canada on these sorts of things. So Many, those who don´t know what they are doing to themselves, go for the lesser price. What follows then, of course there are always strange issues on the dock, like the boat now cost more money and since you are there, people normally pay for this and in the end understand they got exactly what they paid for….. a Mexican boat ride with no cares if you catch fish. Plenty of those guys still around. But things are changing now making it harder and harder for them to operate and better for you the unsuspecting public.
Now the Latest Port Authority has been scouring the docks looking for boats that operate illigally. They have also gone after guys like me who do book boats that we don´t own as well. Now if an agent books a boat that is not insured, licensed, etc the agent takes the heat! But of course that is based on the assumption the agent can be found. If you book one of these boats on the internet, from possibly six different websites this one guy owns with six differnt names…. They can´t even chase those guys down….
Just the other day, the port authority has done something I have never seen before, they put out a list of boat names that are ¨Illegal ¨ and are being stopped as they leave the Marina. Now nobody, including the Navy wants to stop people from having fun, but when the boat returns and the clients leave. The authorities will be coming down on the boat and the agent / owner selling the boat with fines and p0ssible loss of business license (different than an operating license) for fishing charters or anything related to water sports!
If while you are searching the web and you come across boats listed, you are on illegal boats that are not safety rated or licensed out of Marina Vallarta: Sirena or Anna Maria are both very popular boats that have Capt. Steve Torez at the Helm and he is running the company. Now this Capt has a following, but is a crook and feels no qualms to take your money and lie to you. I have informed the company of his actions, but because he wins a few small level tournaments people flock to him. He did work for Master Baiter´s for years and screwed us so many ways it was unbelieveable, but he was my brothers friend and my brother had the company then so there you are.
Other Boats for the moment to look out for are: Guanatuna, Chelita, Pecositas II (High Maintenance previously), Sirena and Anna Maria. GuanaTuna is a fine boat and they got caught in between owners changing licenses, but for the others, they deserve to be on the list!
It is only human nature to look for the best price and we all know that… The one thing most people don´t understand in Mexico is that all the boats are not maintained the same or priced the same. Older, non-maintained boats can cost you the same price as a beautifully maintained boat(s). These floating Pirate Agents will tell you anything you want to hear. But for the most part they won´t know the captains name, what is biting, when the bite is happening, what baits are working, water temps, nothing except they are selling it cheap and trying to get you into a time share presentation.
But take heart, if you are working with an agent with an office you can go back to and find the owner or agent, then this is a measure of security and confidence. If the guy you got your fishing boat from was walking around and just happened to start talking with you, on any subject, blow the guy off, He´s a pirate and he looks like a decent guy. Speaks great english and will even find something in common with you to make you feel comfortable with him…… If this person is sitting in some booth and has a bunch of tour posters, make sure you are asking the right questions as I just mentioned. Go talk with a few different guys and get a feel for the whole industry….. Your gut is a good guide… Fast talkers with little information, and no shop, they’re pirates and your chances of having problems goes way up….
The main reason I am writing this today is because I helped two different fishing groups who had issues of boats not showing up and the other having a different boat show up all together, and the boat wanted another 120 dollars over what the boat should have cost. So there you are, my articles have a purpose and that is to save you from these situations. People who are vacationers feel sorry for the poor Mexican as they´re being jerked around. This hurts the industry and is a real thorn in my side…. so now you know my motivation.
To be safe, ask the captain for proof of his insurance and operational license before you pay the balance or leave the dock. One small step like this can prevent what could be a serious problem ….
Enough about that… Just remember to take your safety seriously and you´ll be ok….
Until Next time, don´t forget to kiss your fish….