Pangas in Puerto Vallarta
We love a good boat ride in Puerto Vallarta; out to watch the whales, or for a day trip to Yelapa, Las Animas and other destinations on the south shore. The Marieta Islands are a must-go trip and we recommend this to our guests, though we don’t support disembarking onto the land, since it is a nature preserve. Recently we have been asked about regulations for the pangas in Puerto Vallarta; how safe it is in the small open skiffs that take us out on excursions. Many years ago, we were silent partners of a panga, skippered and licensed to an able sailor from Mismaloya. We were thrilled to allow him to go through the registration process with our blessing. It’s not like someone can buy a boat, launch it into the water and begin collecting passengers and fares. Owning and operating a panga is with the authority and approval of the Federal Government; it’s a lengthy and arduous process. Costly, too.
When you decide to hire any boat for a cruise in Puerto Vallarta, no matter the size, you can be assured the captain of your vessel has been through rigorous training. CPR and advanced safety and first aid classes are required along with a mandatory extensive physical exam, which includes testing for drugs; heart disease and diabetes; stamina; and a fundamental eye exam. The requisite navigation certification takes many devoted hours of study, along with training to achieve a Certificado de Turismo (Certification of Tourism), which are granted by the Governor of Jalisco in a special ceremony. Of course, this also involves travel costs to Guadalajara, Manzanillo and Tepic; in many cases overnight stays. Permits must be kept n the boat when it is underway with passengers, along with paperwork allowing snorkeling, whale watching, and fishing.
The boat cooperatives are tight groups, each member very aware of whom belongs, who are inconsistent with the rules and which skippers operate outside the system. Those unwilling to follow the rules are met with resistance and will have a difficult time being accepted into the affiliation. For the most part, the skippers in Puerto Vallarta and their crew are very organized and harmonious, helping one another out and having a great time in the process.
All boats are properly equipped with first aid kits, life-rings and life jackets. Every passenger is required to wear a preserver, adults and children. Many tourists put the captain of their vessel in jeopardy by refusing to don the bulky colorful jackets, complaining of interference with their tan lines. Don’t be one of those and please, insist the children obey this simple rule.
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Thanks to our guest blogger Adam Garcia for this article! (opionons expressed are his own)
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