40 Epic Nautical Sailor Tattoos

jentheripper in Tattoo Ideas

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.

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Vintage photo of the fantastic tattoos of Captain Elvy back in 1943.
Vintage photo of the fantastic tattoos of Captain Elvy back in 1943.
Tattoodo
From Tattoodo App
Beautiful ship tattoo by Andre Zechmann.
Beautiful ship tattoo by Andre Zechmann.
Another sailor by Bartek Kos.
Another sailor by Bartek Kos.
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From Tattoodo App
Nautical Realistic Trash Polka sleeve by Buena Vista Tattoo Club.
Nautical Realistic Trash Polka sleeve by Buena Vista Tattoo Club.
Epic side piece by Carl Lofqvist.
Epic side piece by Carl Lofqvist.
"Seize the day" rudder tattoo.
"Seize the day" rudder tattoo.
Lovely feet tats by Craftz B!
Lovely feet tats by Craftz B!
And these thumbs tats by Dan Higgs are just so rad !
And these thumbs tats by Dan Higgs are just so rad !
Outstanding backpiece by Darcy Nutt !
Outstanding backpiece by Darcy Nutt !
Shipwreck and lighthouse sleeve by Delaine Neo Gilma.
Shipwreck and lighthouse sleeve by Delaine Neo Gilma.
Love the colors of the side piece by Dmitriy Samohin.
Love the colors of the side piece by Dmitriy Samohin.
Pin-up by Gabe Norton.
Pin-up by Gabe Norton.
Awesome Davy Jones and ship tattoo by Gabriele Pais !
Awesome Davy Jones and ship tattoo by Gabriele Pais !
Homeward Bound backpiece by Joel Soos
Homeward Bound backpiece by Joel Soos
Epic chestpiece of a giant octopus wrecking a ship by George Campise.
Epic chestpiece of a giant octopus wrecking a ship by George Campise.
Nice idea for girls :)
Nice idea for girls :)
Beautiful black and grey ship by Josh Duffy.
Beautiful black and grey ship by Josh Duffy.
Nice lighthouse by LTW.
Nice lighthouse by LTW.
Abstract ship by Marie Kraus.
Abstract ship by Marie Kraus.
Sailor's love ... Cute tat by Matteo Pasqualin !
Sailor's love ... Cute tat by Matteo Pasqualin !
Neo trad sailor girl by Mike Stockings.
Neo trad sailor girl by Mike Stockings.
Neat piece by Mojoncio.
Neat piece by Mojoncio.
Very rad new school legs tattoos ! (please tell us who the artist is)
Very rad new school legs tattoos ! (please tell us who the artist is)
Epic backpiece by Niki Norberg.
Epic backpiece by Niki Norberg.
And apparently, Mr Sedda loves sailors ;)
And apparently, Mr Sedda loves sailors ;)
Rooster and pig with a sailor hat by Raphael Tiraf.
Rooster and pig with a sailor hat by Raphael Tiraf.
Beautiful tones in this realistic tattoo.
Beautiful tones in this realistic tattoo.
Breathtaking sleeve by Remis !
Breathtaking sleeve by Remis !
Nice captain sleeve !
Nice captain sleeve !
Just love the optical illusion of this piece by Sergey Gas !!! Do you see the skull ?
Just love the optical illusion of this piece by Sergey Gas !!! Do you see the skull ?
Lovely black and grey lighthouse by Stefano Alcantara.
Lovely black and grey lighthouse by Stefano Alcantara.
Great work by Sue Jeiven.
Great work by Sue Jeiven.
Photoshoped probably, but lots of ideas to pick !
Photoshoped probably, but lots of ideas to pick !
Killer thighs tattoos !
Killer thighs tattoos !
Jawdroping backpiece by Tim Hendricks ...
Jawdroping backpiece by Tim Hendricks ...
And this one by Valerie Vargas.
And this one by Valerie Vargas.
A full sleeve with sailors and pirates tats by Valerie Vargas.
A full sleeve with sailors and pirates tats by Valerie Vargas.
Epic work of Xam.
Epic work of Xam.

jentheripper

@JenTheRipper

Writer for art related medias. Fell in love with tattoo while researching for another passion, crime history. Travelling, admiring, sharing.

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