Captain is a nautical term, an organizational title, and a rank in various uniformed organizations. The term has different meanings both at sea, in the private sector, and in the military. Confusion between the different types of captain (nautical, naval, army, and titular) often exists in literature, drama and real life. The customs indicated are necessary to avoid confusion at sea when the question of "Who is in charge of the ship?" may be a matter of life and death.

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