Making Your Vessel Accessible for the Disabled

Making Your Vessel Accessible for the Disabled
By Urban Miyares, Co-Founder, Challenged America Program

“Urban – My wife now has MS and uses a wheelchair. How can I make our 30 foot sailboat more wheelchair friendly so she can continue to be active as crew and enjoy being on the water? Jim L.”

Over the years we’ve received many such requests, from both sail and power boat owners wanting to make their vessels more accessible and accommodating for themselves and others with disabilities. As a matter of fact, just in the past couple of weeks I’ve had 3 such requests – which prompted me to write this blog.

If you have a physical, mobility or sensory challenge (whether permanent or temporary) or diagnosed with a hidden medical condition, you’ll immediately discover how unfriendly most boats are. Their design is not accommodating to the disabled. However you can make your sail or power boat more welcoming and comfortable to crew members and passengers with impairments.
Following is but a beginning outline to help guide you in making your vessel more accessible to those with physical challenges. Continue reading

New visa requirements for Mexico

On May 25, 2011 a new immigration law in Mexico was enacted “in
order to create in our country a framework of guarantees to protect the
rights of the individuals in our country, facilitate and manage the
migratory flows to and from Mexico, favoring the protection and
respect of human rights of Mexicans and foreigners, regardless their
origin, nationality, gender, ethnicity, age and immigration status.”
Source INAMI (Mexico’s Immigration Department).

INAMI has informed us that Articles 33, 44, 46, 50, 153, and 154 of the
new immigration law require that all foreigners entering Mexican
territory which includes Mexican territorial waters and contiguous
waters (24 miles) from shore must have a Visa.

There are two primary options provided by INAMI that allow anglers to
apply for a Mexican Visa if they intend to enter the Territorial Waters of

  • Boaters can appear at the Mexican land border points of entry and obtain a Visa through an INAMI designated facility.
  •  Boaters may report to the Port of Ensenada point of entry and contact the IMANI Office at the Port to obtain a Visa.
  •  A third new option for the SAC member vessels is to obtain a Visathrough a program sanctioned by INAMI. This program will permit the application process to be administered through a company approved byINAMI. This company is currently working with the sportfishing landings in San Diego to establish the required infrastructure. Once the process is “live” the feasibility of opening it up to the general boating public willbe evaluated by the San Diego Landings.

The facts:

  •   All US or International tourists traveling to Mexico must have Visa to enter Mexico. This is called an FMM permit. This permit must go through a different process depending on whether one is entering by land or by sea.
  •   INAMI has authorized a 3rd party organization to initiate the water entry Visa process at the 5 San Diego landings for tourists with passage on any SAC member vessel.
  •   The SAC landings will only be facilitating the Visa. All other Visa’s must be obtained in Mexico.
  •   The cost of the Visa will vary depending on the length of the trip and the value of the Peso
  •   INAMI will monitor the border and execute random inspections of all vessels crossing into Mexican territorial waters, including monitoring the private marine recreational sector
  •   If you are boarded by INAMI, they will ask you for a National ID and your Mexican Visa
  •   The Visa must be processed and paid for ahead of time
  •   All FMM Visas are to be returned within 24hrs upon return to the U.S.
  •   Vessels traveling through the territorial waters of Mexico, not engaging in activities, but seeking only “innocent passage” while enroute to international waters, will not be required to have a Visa.
  •   Crew members will be required to have a FM3 which can be obtained through the 3rd party company or in a INAMI office

As of January 1 the costs will be, per person:

  • Three days or less: $28.00
  •  Four to nine days: $33.06
  •  10 plus days: $38.06

As of February 1, the costs will be, per person:

  •  Three days or less: $33.06
  •  Four to nine days: $38.06
  •  10 plus days: $43.06
  •  Crewmembers will have to have a FM3 work visa, which can be obtained through Mex Tour Assist for $250.00.
  •  A  FM3 trumps a FMN visa,” said Williams, so anyone with a FM3 (which is good for one year) will not need a FMN. Anyone getting a FM3 will need a sponsor, which Mex Tour Assist can be for crewmembers.

The Visa Applications may be made through the following locations:

Fisherman’s Landing
2838 Garrison Street
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 221‐8500

H&M Sportfishing
2803 Emerson Street
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 222‐1144

Point Loma Sportfishing
1403 Scott Street
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 223‐1627

Seaforth Sportfishing
1717 Quivira Road
San Diego, CA 92109
(619) 224‐3383

Dana Landing
2580 Ingraham Street
San Diego, CA 92109
(619) 226‐2929


Our thoughts and prayers to the families affected in Sunday boating accident

Our thoughts and prayers go to the families affected by Sunday boating accident in San Diego.

The media have been very vague, reporting that the accident happened during “a Sunday afternoon sail for a nonprofit organization for people with disabilities”

We want to insure that there is no confusion, the organization in question is neither affiliated nor connected to Challenged America.

Challenged America’s 30 year old inshore and offshore adaptive and therapeutic sailing program has a perfect safety record.