Okay, so as part of a future Sea of Thieves update Rare was looking to implement what was being dubbed a 'Death Cost'. That would as per the description, have "the Captain of the Ferry of the Damned deduct a small gold fee when you die". Naturally for a game all about getting gold, this proved to be extremely unpopular within the Sea of Thieves community. And so, it's been scrapped.
With Rare's Joe Neate taking to Twitter to confirm.
Although the Death Cost would have excluded any PvP deaths, it would have dissuaded smaller crews from trying to tackle Skull Forts. Outside of it sounding like a bad addition to the game, it's great to see that Rare is actively responding to community feedback.