It's a tradition that can be traced back to as early as 1852 - captains choosing to stay on their ships until all passengers and crew are safe aboard lifeboats.
Recent maritime disasters, though, make it look like the practice is seemingly being abandoned.
Lee Joon-seok, captain of the Sewol, the South Korean ferry that sunk last week, has come under fire for abandoning the ship while hundreds of passengers remained on board. Dozens of them died and more than 200 were still missing Monday.
South Korea media reports, the ferry captain has been charged with abandoning his boat, negligence, causing bodily injury, not seeking rescue from other ships and violating "seamen's law."
The actions of the South Korea captain have been compared to that of Captain Francesco Schettino, who commanded the cruise ship Costa Concordia, which crashed into a reef of the coast of Italy in 2012, killing 32 people.
Witnesses said Schettino jumped into a life boat to flee the ship while hundreds of passengers remained on board.
Should a captain go down with the ship? Answer our OutFront poll:
The captain who fled the sinking ferry with hundreds of students on board is in police custody.
He has been charged with causing the accident that killed at least 29 people.
That number is likely to rise. With 270 passengers still missing, the search is turning increasingly grim. It's been four days since the boat capsized off the coast of South Korea, and it is now completely underwater.
Many people are drawing parallels between this tragedy and the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia that capsized off the western coast of Italy in January 2012, killing dozens.
Georgia Ananias and Dean Ananias were on that ship and among the last passengers to escape.
They are OutFront.
One official is says it's a miracle that human remains have been found in the Costa Concordia cruise ship that crashed off the coast of Italy 20 months ago.
Human remains found on Costa Concordia
The crash killed 30 people and left two others missing and presumed dead.
Barbie Nadeau is OutFront with more.
An Italian court is calling for a new examination of the wrecked Costa Concordia - at the request of the Captain who is facing manslaughter charges for his role in the deaths of 32 people.
Costa Concordia trial judges agree to examination of wrecked ship
Now that the ship is upright, Captain Francesco Schettino thinks a tour of the cruise liner's bridge and engine room will prove that he isn't to blame.
This move could delay the trial for months. So, is it a viable defense?
OutFront: Captain Steven Werse.
The captain of the ship that slammed into the rocks off Italy's coast nearly a year ago killing 32 people told a judge that the wreck was the fault of his crew.
"I asked the helmsman to turn the ship left, and he made the error and did not, an instead turned hard to the right," Captain Francescoi Schettino said.
CNN Legal Analyst Danny Cevallos is OutFront.