This interview was conducted by the award-winning New Zealand maritime historian and author Joan Druett, who published it on her blog, World of the Written Word.
I am grateful to Joan for the interview, and for her permission to repost it here.
The maritime world is filled with specialist vocabulary the conventional spelling of which is not always obvious. Boatswain/bosun and forecastle/focsle are among the best-known examples of words that have two accepted spellings, one etymologically correct, the other based on pronunciation. Another source of uncertainty is whether a term is one word or two, or hyphenated, as in sea anchor, seabag, sea bass, seabed, sea-lane.
This list is my attempt to impose a bit of order on the subject. It is by no means immutable, and I welcome suggestions, corrections, and discussion about the choices reflected here.
admiral (rear a.; vice a., etc.)
admiral of the fleet