You Don't Have To Be A Sailor To Enjoy These Nautical Themed Tattoos

14 September 2016
 Categories: Entertainment, Blog


If you love the ocean and the folklore surrounding sailing and you're looking for tattoo designs, then you should think about nautical themed tattoos. As you might know, tattoos originally became popular with sailors, so it's only fitting that some of the classic designs feature nautical themes. Here are some ideas that you can investigate. You will find many different designs in each, ranging from the classic "Sailor Jerry" style, to more modern designs.

Nautical Star

This is a famous five-pointed star that is popular with sailors, especially those in the Navy. The star is shaded dark and light. Its design makes it look similar to a compass. For this reason, the tattoo often times symbolizes a point home. Sailors believed that it was good luck and would help them return home.

Ships Wheel

This one is an obvious symbol. It is a depiction of the wheel that directs the course of the ship. Some people see this as representative of taking control of one's fate and destiny. These tattoos remind people that while the weather and seas (events outside of one's control) will arise, you are ultimately responsible for your own destiny.

A wheel design can include intricate designs on the handle or can feature a classic wooden wheel without adornment.


These are special tattoos within the sailing community. Swallows are birds that return to the same location to nest every year, no matter how far away they are. This dedication to always return home was seen as good luck for sailors who might travel far across the world and wanted to make it back safely. The tattoos were originally made popular in the British Navy. A sailor needed to have sailed five thousand miles to get one swallow. These birds are particularly beautiful, so in addition to having an important meaning in the sailing community, they make a gorgeous decoration for your skin.


Anchors are steady, secure, and they don't move. Because of this, many sailors would have a tattoo of an anchor and adorn it with the name of a loved one who is a source of strength. You might see an anchor with "mom" or a spouses name in a ribbon across the center of the anchor. The anchor is normally dark black and the ribbon is colored. Some anchors are adorned as well with bright natural rope, which can add more color to the tattoo.

Pig and Rooster

What do pigs and roosters have to do with sailing? Well, the animals were taken aboard the ships for transport and kept in wooden crates. These crates, should the ship tragically sink, would often be used as flotation devices. Therefore the pig and rooster are seen as good luck in the event of a catastrophe.

Check out these designs and more at your local tattoo shop, such as The Ink Lab.