You know that the nautical tattoo isn’t just a pretty picture inked into your skin. They are backed up by 5 centuries of interpretations and a hell of a lot of ink. Nautical tattoos are basically sailor tattoos. Sailors were the first Europeans to bring tattoo traditions to the continent. Being the first to see the indigenous people in the places they visited tattooing their skin, the sailors acquired this tradition. They marked their voyages and successful returns with another tattoo.
Today’s modern nautical tattoos are quite different. They can be found in many tattoo styles, completed with a lot of imagination and skill. The first sailor tattoos were of course in old school style. The one thing which hasn’t changed is the meaning they carry.
Sailor tattoos are loaded with a lot of love, hope, and expectations. They also bring pain, loss and the memories of hard times at sea. The nautical imagery or sailor tattoos are today universal symbols. This is the reason why so many people are still in love with nautical tattoos.
Of course, there are certain motifs, so popular and almost mandatory for nautical tats. Let’s see some of them.
The anchor simply means stability and safe return. Sailors stayed on anchor after they have successfully returned from a long journey. Today the anchor still means the same- to be grounded.
The ship as you can guess was the most important thing in the sailor’s life. His home, his most powerful weapon, his shelter. The ship means experience and tough life.
The nautical star
The nautical star is our favorite motif. It represents the Northern star the sailor used to mark directions. The northern star for centuries was the most trustful orientation. In today’s translation, the nautical star would speak for hope and path in life.
You can’t have an article about nautical tattoos without a compass. The compass is the most popular symbol of sailing and travels. It is the guiding force which will bring you back home safe. Take it as you wish- the compass is your guidance.
The lighthouse was the only hope at sea when near land and rocks. It still represents hope and safe passage.
Take a look at these stunning examples of modern and fresh nautical tattoos with great meaning and history.