Next is the paper chase. Gone are the whimsical days of letting the winds blow you where they may. The modern cruiser must be prepared in advance to face a host of legal requirements. First, ensure that every crewmember’s passport is as current as possible. Many countries will not issue visas to passports within six months of expiry. Next, list every country that you may wish to stop in and those in peripheral waters. Check the visa requirements carefully because the devil is in the details, especially if you have a multinational crew. Many countries require no visas if your stay is relatively short, or issue visas upon arrival. But some, such as Australia, will hit you with a hefty fine for showing up without one. Albeit increasingly expensive, cruising permits are normally obtainable upon arrival, but check the cruising websites and forums for current and accurate information. Make very high-resolution photocopies of your passports and ship’s papers. Bureaucrats love the pomp and splendor of shiny paper, and your precious original boat documents can stay safely on the vessel. If departing directly from U.S. waters, be aware that U.S. Customs does not normally issue a zarpe, or outbound clearance papers, yet these are required for entry into nearly any other nation. Download CBP Form 1300 and insist on a government stamp, any stamp. Be sure to have clear doctors’ prescriptions for every drug in the ship’s medical kit. What might be an over-the-counter medication in one country can be highly prohibited in another. Increasingly, foreign marinas demand third-party liability insurance. If you hope to further insure for damage and loss, check carefully the caveats relating to seasons and areas. If you plan to rent cars for touring, it is best to obtain an international driver’s license before departure.