40 Epic Nautical Sailor Tattoos
Sea is one of the most dangerous and unstable environments for men, and a good metaphor of life.
It is not surprising then that sailors were among the first to be tattooed, to ward off fate and express their experiences. Their weakness for tattoos leaded to a boom of tattoo art and the designs they favored are still coveted now, both by sailors and non-sailors, for their old-school beauty or for their meanings.
Most of the nautical tattoos are originally talismans for good luck, as sailors were very superstitious.
The Anchor, for example, which is securing the ship, is a symbol of safety and stability. It was inked by those who have successfully crossed the Atlantic. If it is teamed with a banner, the name or words on it would give the reason to stay grounded (a family member, lover or philosophy).
The Nautical star, of course, is one common tattoo. Symbolizing the North star guiding the ships back home, it is very simple to do and can be found in any tattoo artist book.
A pig and rooster tattoos are not quite associated with sea, but they are genuine historical sailor tattoos. They were both tattooed on men who have survived from a shipwreck, or to avoid one, the rooster on the right side, the pig on the left side. They are many reasons for this choice, but I think this old saying is enough: "Pig on the knee, safety at sea, cock on the right, never lose a fight".
Pin-ups are of course iconic sailor tattoos. With sailor hats or clothes, they symbolize the girl waiting at home. As mermaids, they mean the dangerous beauty of sea (and life).
Lighthouses are a guiding light to find a way home without crashing on the rocks. Thus, it means hope, wisdom, family as a shelter and the sacrifices you make for it.
Ships and old sailors, especially captains, are a way to show your experience of life. There are also, rudder tattoos meaning control in your destiny, swallows and dice for fate.
Nautical tattoos were first old-school, but now they have been reinvented by many artists, in many styles.
Ready to get on board ? Then you will love these 40 fantastic nautical sailor tattoos.