The most amazing sailor tattoos inspired by Navy life - We Are The Mighty
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20 amazing sailor tattoos inspired by Navy life

There was a time when the only Westerners who sported tattoos were sailors. Tattoos in Western culture can be traced back to Captain James Cook’s visit with the Maori people in the 1700s. His crew decided to get them as souvenirs, and the Western tattoo culture started from there, according to Steve Gilbert in his book Tattoo History.

Traditional sailor tattoos symbolized experiences such as travel, achievements, rank, status, significant life events, superstitions, and more. These are a few examples of the meaning behind traditional sailor tattoos:

  • Anchor: associated with the Boatswain’s Mate rate or Chief rank, but also symbolizes safety and stability
  • Dragon: associated with service in Asia
  • Nautical Star: symbolizes the North star and guide for a safe return home
  • Lighthouse: symbolizes safe passage to home port
  • Old sailor or captain: symbolizes life experiences
  • Rudder: symbolizes control of a destiny

Sailor tattoos fell out of style for several decades but made a comeback thanks to pop culture. Today, sailor tattoos are more popular than ever — and not just with sailors. Celebs, musicians, sorority girls, homemakers, techies — everybody’s getting inked.

Here are some of the coolest Navy-inspired designs recently sighted around the web:

1. Old sailor

20 amazing sailor tattoos inspired by Navy life
Photo: Roman Abrego @romantattos/Instagram

2. Captain Jack Sparrow

20 amazing sailor tattoos inspired by Navy life
Photo: Roman Abrego @romantattoos/instagram

3. Portrait of a sailor

20 amazing sailor tattoos inspired by Navy life
Photo: küstenmädel/Pinterest

4. Ship on the horizon

20 amazing sailor tattoos inspired by Navy life
Photo: Katelyn King/Pinterest

5. Golden chain captain

20 amazing sailor tattoos inspired by Navy life
Photo: Eric Roest/Pinterest

6. Popeye The Sailor Man

20 amazing sailor tattoos inspired by Navy life
Photo: Mary Martin/Pinterest

7. Vintage photo of Captain Elvy

20 amazing sailor tattoos inspired by Navy life
Photo: William Black/Pinterest

8. Ship’s wheel

20 amazing sailor tattoos inspired by Navy life
Photo: Brittany Cozzens/Pinterest

9. Crown and anchor

20 amazing sailor tattoos inspired by Navy life
Photo: Kaley Mckeithen

10. Dangers of the sea

20 amazing sailor tattoos inspired by Navy life
Photo: Daniel Fonseca/Pinterest

11. Sailor’s grave

20 amazing sailor tattoos inspired by Navy life
Photo: Korenn Pendleton

12. Set sail 

20 amazing sailor tattoos inspired by Navy life
Photo: Emily Hartung

13. Octopus grappling a diver helmet

20 amazing sailor tattoos inspired by Navy life
Photo: Worldtattoogallery/Pinterest

14. Deep sea diver

20 amazing sailor tattoos inspired by Navy life
Photo: Kyle Scarry/Pinterest

15. There’s a million more miles to roam tattoo

20 amazing sailor tattoos inspired by Navy life
Photo: Sma Barn/Pinterest

16. Octopus coming out of the skin

20 amazing sailor tattoos inspired by Navy life
Photo: Brittnie Cudo/Pinterest

17. Set sail in traditional American style

20 amazing sailor tattoos inspired by Navy life
Photo: Bryan Fahey/Pinterest

18. Sailor kissing nurse

20 amazing sailor tattoos inspired by Navy life
Photo: Sean Dustman/Pinterest

19. Poseidon

20 amazing sailor tattoos inspired by Navy life
Photo: Jared Scott/Pinterest

20. Sailor smoking his pipe

20 amazing sailor tattoos inspired by Navy life
Photo: Pietro Sedda/Tumblr
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