Argentine entry requirements: Checking in and out of Mar Del Plata

Checking in and out of Mar Del Plata is a nightmare. See an update from Sailors for Sustainability (October 2018) at the bottom of this report.

Published 7 years ago, updated 6 years ago

To visit Immigration (most of the time they are not in the office but there is a phone number on the door to call), Prefectura (nearby – they called immigration during my visit) and Customs, takes two days!

The problem lies in the fact that the health inspector arrives at the boat late in the morning, giving you a slip to pay about Pesos 270, which you have to pay at the Banco Nation. There you most likely face a line up of 2 hours for your turn. The bank closes at 3 pm.

Worse yet, Prefectura likes to inspect boats to enforce Argentine safety and other requirements.

The Prefecture demands that international vessels are classified as “Veleros Oceanicos” and therefore need a certified life raft, six parachute flares and six hand-held flares (even if just coastal cruising). I did not know about these requirements in advance and had 4 inspections in total!

Safety Inspections

On arrival, my boat got inspected for safety requirements and in my case, no issues were found, but it delayed the check-in procedure.

Five days later I wanted to check-out and another inspection was required by another person, who found my liferaft out of date by one year, so I missed a good weather window to sail south. At that time I did not know that there was a list of things to which I had to comply (they did not hand it out). This would have helped a lot to have in advance to avoid the delay. Finally, an Argentine friend who spoke English and Spanish very well was able to source the list (Argentina Prefectura Safety Regs). Make sure you have a valid certificate for the liferaft.

The third inspection revealed that my flares were out of date by 6 months.

At this time I was able to acquire the list of items required and bought the flares (they are only certified for 2 years, parachute flares cost about Pesos 1700, hand flares 650, smoke flares 1700), one more life ring (Pesos 1022), had my fire extinguisher certified for one year (Pesos 150) and got an axe. I found Elena near Prefecture to buy the flares at the best price. The Lifering I got from Nautic, one block away from Prefecture. Both only accept cash.

I passed the fourth inspection. The chief of Prefecture for the Coastguard department has given me the right to have no sextant on board.

Docking – Yacht Club Argentina

Yacht Club Argentina mooring is US$ 3.50/meter per day, initial first two days free.

If you like to pay Yacht Club Argentina by credit card, you have to walk along the shore to the east for 20 minutes. ATM’s only let you take Pesos 2000 per day (the closest one is at Food store Toledo (20 min walk) or at Bank Patagonia on 12th Octobre (10 min walk). I found out that you can take out Pesos 2000 from each bank on the same day. ATM fee is Pesos 106 per transaction.

The good thing is a coffee “con leche” and 3 croissants (called “factura”, which means you can choose from a variety of sweets including French-style croissants) cost Pesos 50 – and you will need it!

Werner Gysi

SY Princess Del Mar, Nov. 23/17.

Werner has been sailing since 1996, now retired and living on Princess Del Mar while circumnavigating. He started in Vancouver, now in Argentina.

Update October 2018 – from Sailors for Sustainability:

We are currently in Uruguay and are preparing our journey to Patagonia later this year.

We found this report very helpful, however, the list of requirements seems to have changed recently. For example, fewer flares are required and AIS was added.

The new list (from May 2018) can be found here:

The list is in Anexo “A”.

It contains Spanish nautical terms, so we made an effort to translate it to English and Dutch. Here is our – unofficial – translation. The last column can be used as a checklist. We hope it will be useful for Patagonia-going sailboats.

Note that we do not yet have any experience with the Argentinian authorities, so we don’t know yet if they actually check each item on the list. We will let you know what our experience was after Mar del Plata.

Floris & Ivar

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of or the World Cruising Club.

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