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Nautical Tattoos: A Brief History and My Top 12

Nautical Tattoos: A Brief History and My Top 12
Tattoo Ideas5 min Read

In this selection of my top twelve favorite iconic nautical tattoos, we take a look at sailors, symbols, and Traditional tattoos.

Personally, I’m a big fan of nautical tattoos and have several myself. I couldn’t say where this came from, but perhaps it’s a result of living near the ocean, or the appeal of the symbolism behind certain images. I find it fascinating to discover how certain tattoos originated, especially ones that remain so popular even now.

Nautical Tattoos on Sailors #NauticalTattoos #sailortattoos #sailors #traditionaltattoos #traditional #AmericanTraditional #nautical
Vintage photograph of Nautical tattoos #NauticalTattoos #sailortattoos #sailors #traditionaltattoos #traditional #AmericanTraditional #nautical
Nautical Tattoos on Sailors #NauticalTattoos #sailortattoos #sailors #traditionaltattoos #traditional #AmericanTraditional #nautical

Tattooing become increasingly popular with sailors who wanted a memento of where they had travelled to; a souvenir, if you like, which could not be lost, and would not be inconvenient to take with them on their voyages.

Nautical Tattoos on Sailors #NauticalTattoos #sailortattoos #sailors #traditionaltattoos #traditional #AmericanTraditional #nautical
Lyle Tuttle tattooing a sailor with a ship #NauticalTattoos #sailortattoos #sailors #traditionaltattoos #traditional #AmericanTraditional #nautical #lyletuttle
Nautical Tattoos on Sailors #NauticalTattoos #sailortattoos #sailors #traditionaltattoos #traditional #AmericanTraditional #nautical

Swallow Tattoos

Anchor Tattoos

Nautical Star Tattoos

Ship Tattoos

Rock of Ages Tattoos

Shark Tattoos

Skull Tattoo

Dragon Tattoo

Propeller Tattoos

Mermaid Tattoo

Lighthouse Tattoos

Pin Up Tattoos

There were, and to some degree still are, a number of tattoos which directly relate to a sailor’s position in his job. A tattoo of a rope indicates that the person is a deckhand, and a harpoon tattoo relates to a fishing fleet. A tattoo with a less obvious meaning is the crossed anchors, placed between the thumb and fingers. When appearing on the right hand, it indicates that the person is a boatswain mate who has travelled the seven seas, and if placed on left hand they have travelled all the seas.

Nautical tattoos by Liam Alvy #LiamAlvy #NauticalTattoos #sailortattoos #sailors #traditionaltattoos #traditional #AmericanTraditional #nautical #ship #roses #hands #couple #love #eagle #flower #forearm
Nautical back tattoo collection by Austin Maples #AustinMaples #NauticalTattoos #sailortattoos #sailors #traditionaltattoos #traditional #AmericanTraditional #backpiece #nautical #ship #mermaid #fish #rose #sword #swallow
Nautical tattoos by Needles Tattooing #NeedlesTattooing #NauticalTattoos #sailortattoos #sailors #traditionaltattoos #traditional #AmericanTraditional #nautical #ship #forearm