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Difference between Clear a ship and Clear a ship for action

clear a shippay the charges at the custom-house and receive permission to sail:

  • The custom’s official told me that only the captain could clear the ship and that I had to go back and get him.

clear a ship for action—(also: clear the decks) remove all encumbrances from the deck of a ship ready for an engagement:

  • Crews were often given a hot meal before being called to clear the ship for action.