Craig Allen posted about the Master's obligation - and any seaman's similar duty - as illuminated by the 1841 WILLIAM BROWN episode. The judge in that case said:

"The passenger stands in a position different from that of the officers and seamen.  It is the sailor who must encounter the hardships and perils of the voyage.  Nor can this relation be changed when the ship is lost by tempest or other danger of the sea… for imminence of danger can not absolve from duty.  The sailor is bound, as before, to undergo whatever hazard is necessary to preserve the boat and the passengers...  The sailor (to use the language of a distinguished writer) owes more benevolence to another than to himself.  He is bound to set a greater value on the life of others than on his own.  And while we admit that sailor and sailor may lawfully struggle with each other for the plank which can save but one, we think that, if the passenger is on the plank, even 'the law of necessity' justifies not the sailor who takes it from him."  ~Justice Henry Baldwin

That is how the public should view professional seamen, and that is the standard professional seamen should live up to. Good post, have a look: