27 Amazing Ship Tattoos with Meanings

A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.

— Grace Hopper

From Noah’s Ark to the present day’s commercial cargo crafts, the discovery of the ship has made life beyond land an actuality. Sail back to 10,000 years and you’ll notice the first handcrafted sailboat. Made of animal hides and interwoven materials, it didn’t occur as a true ship by today’s standards, yet it assisted as a foundational purpose.

From vicious pirates to excellent mariners traversing new lands, the ship literally led the direction. Though, for some ships like the Titanic, amongst innumerable different sea wrecks, you could say the path was directed in the erroneous direction.

When it comes to marine body art, the ship rates amongst the best and most attractive. Sailors’ tattoos were one of the elements that distinguished them from the others and made them unique. For seamen and casters, it symbolizes their way of life, their way of being. They depend on the seas to persist and look after their families. In some sense, the ship tattoo is representative of this.

Tattoos with transportations are befitted for artistic people who are in need of motivation. Also, they can be implemented on enthusiastic adventurers, who often shift their shelters. Hence, the style is really ideal, implying a strive for perfection. It is plausible that following the application of the tattoo, one will go into a new life, a better direction because the wearer is now himself motivated to improve something. Dreams will come true, and good luck will overtake the holder. Ships with screens are proper for men who are habitual to permanence. If a person is well-founded or engaged in some serious business, then for him too, these figures are ideal. Simply put, all ships tattoos have quite a widespread meaning, so most people choose something that will be intimate to his or her feelings. The location of the tattoos has special significance too. The pattern can be applied on the back, chest or leg – the main thing is to choose an appropriate design because this ink is here to stay.

Here are some of the meanings which the ship tattoo can convey:

  • Home
  • New journey
  • New beginning
  • Good luck
  • Being immersed in nature
  • Way of life
  • Independence
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Honor
  • Bravery
  • Direction
  • Troubled past
  • Life’s challenges
  • Ship Wreck

Ship Tattoos

  • Colorful Ship Designs

Ship Tattoos

  • Attractive Ship Tattoo Designs

Considering that the pirates were thought to be robust by nature, the tattoo can also be employed to attest to the unshakable belief of the person donning it. This can have a morose and a crooked intent. The parts of the tattoo will ascertain more about the position of that person. It could also signify strength and courage. Normally, when the flag of the vessel is kept up, it indicates that the sailors and the pirate are not inclined to yield. So when the flag is up high, the bearer could be transmitting a message to someone that they are not frightened of anything.

Ship Tattoos

  • Innovative Ship Tattoo Designs

Ship Tattoos

  • Hand Ship Tattoos

Ship Tattoos

  • Cute Ship Tattoo Designs

Ship Tattoos

  • Trapped by Monster

Ship Tattoos

  • Dark Ship Tattoo Designs

The metaphor of this tattoo is intimately associated with the life of the wearer. Also, it could be applied in regard to some other person. The main aim and analogy of the tattoo originate from the sailors and their ways of the life course. These ships were commanded by the pirates, who were supposed to be rugged and somewhat threatening. The sailors of these ships used to navigate through the tumultuous sea and they strived through it all.

Ship Tattoos

  • Personal Ship Tattoos

The wearer could be intimating through this design that they are not giving up on a particular impression associated with their individual life.  Some can utilize it to dispense their adventurous appetite. It could mean that the person wearing the tattoo is full of enthusiasm for new and outdoor things. This passion for adventure naturally results in love or desire to have an escapade with the pirate ship. The tattoo might also be used to symbolize a liberated vitality of the person.

Ship Tattoos

  • Compass and Ship Tattoo

You can get yourself a tattoo that involves not only the ship but other elements related to the sea too. One can add elements like a compass or an anchor to enhance the significance of the love for the sea. It is up to you at the end to give whatever meaning to your design that you like.

Ship Tattoos

  • Ship in a Bottle

You can have the ship composed to seem ensnared in the bottle. This can be used to mean that the person’s wishes or skills are confined or in hostage of something. The constraint can be the shortage of supplies or any other hurdle.

Ship Tattoos

  • Tattoo Design for Wrist

For this, a person could implement the tattoo idea to attest that they can endure any troublesome circumstances and get through it without being crushed. This can be related to any part in the life of the tattoo bearer. It might be a message to other people, reminding them that the wearer is competent in achieving anything that he desires. The tattoo can also be utilized as a way of boosting the confidence of the bearer.

Ship Tattoos

  • Skull Ship Designs

This one can be used to express the extraordinary powerful courage of the wearer. There can be waves throughout and the pirate can be added while handling the wheel or aiming his weapon. This will mean that the personage is more than ready for anything that approaches his door.

Ship Tattoos

  • Ship Trapped by Octopus

You can also have the pirate vessel ambushed by an octopus. It might not be seen as positive by many, though it can look classy. It may indicate that the person is equipped to compete against all the authorities in any situation if deemed necessary.

Ship Tattoos

  • Floral Ship Design

The pattern can also be instilled with a set of words or other patterns. The words can be used as motivating or for someone you love. For instance, a person can have the tattoo applied with some significant quote on it. This can be suitable if the wearer’s partner/loved one is in marine. This will also gel well if the person implementing this design is an enthusiast of the pirate ships.

Ship Tattoos

  • Black and White Ship Designs

This is one of the fundamental designs of a pirate ship and you can easily say the most common one too. Historically, it can be said to be used by anyone relating to sea life. This tattoo can have more than just the pirate ship like the other elements associated with the sea or the pirate. Including other elements can lead it to a more significant meaning for the wearer.

Ship Tattoos

  • Shaded Ship Designs

The pirate ships can also be engraved with the aim of honoring someone who perished in the sea. If a ship was overturned and the sailors lost their lives, this tattoo can be applied as a souvenir. The specifications will alter from one to another.

Ship Tattoos

  • Detailed Ship Designs

This one is basically a complex ship design of the pirate and although it might look simple, it has a lot of intricacies. In most cases, it will incorporate, along with a ship, a flag soaring high and it can emerge on quiet waves or massive waves. This one will not require any color details, however, a tint or two won’t harm. The design and meaning will be central in general.

Ship Tattoos

  • Minimalistic Ship Designs

Ship Tattoos

  • Colorful Ship Designs

Ship Tattoos

  • Basic Ship Designs

Ship Tattoos

  • Profound Tattoo Designs

Ship Tattoos

  • Attractive Ship Tattoos

Ship Tattoos

One of the most common marine-inspired designs is that of the sailing ship. These tattoos can be inked two ways, by either making it appear life-like or making it appear caricaturish. In the design above, you can see many sails, but if you want a ship with a single sail, you can opt for it. So the variations are multiple. This design looks like a portrait that is hung on the wall. There are other marine-inspired elements that you can incorporate into these designs that might hold some personal significance for you.

  • Ship Designs on Arm

Ship Tattoos

  • Bottled Ship Designs

Ship Tattoos

  • Modern Style Ship Designs

Ship Tattoos

  • Vintage Ship Design

Next to sailboats, Navy vessels and vintage crafts are also prevalent. Navy vessels are habitually preferred by those who toiled as or are currently serving in the nautical field. They can include anything affiliated with the Navy or the US, although it’s frequent for a member of the Navy to possess a precise reproduction of their prevailing or previous tour vessel.

Ship Tattoos

You can supplement any oceanic symbol to your design. Some familiar ones include the compass, anchor, nautical star, and swallow. An anchor can signify a hearth or security, while a star or compass expresses direction and faith. Another attractive design mimics the vessel in a framed picture. While there are others that use components of nature (like clouds, water, rocks, landscape, rain, etc.) as a frame. A ship inside a bottle might hold deep significance for some.

It is important to ask yourself about what your ship means to you. Is it soaring or descending? What cipher would you like to put on the bow to help you overlook the calamities during your travel? Does the vessel have a name? If so, contemplate having that name “painted” on your design.

Here are the meanings of some symbols which the earlier seamen used that you can also incorporate in your design and give it a personal touch:

Anchor: An anchor located anywhere on the body depicts that a sailor had concluded a voyage that crossed the Atlantic. It also earlier thought of something which brings steadiness.

Compass: A compass was regarded as something by which a sailor would always be able to find his way home.

Crossed Anchors:  An anchor that is inked between the thumb and forefinger imply that the sailor was a boatswain, the senior-most officer of a deck area who is responsible for the whole unit and marine tools.

Crossed Cannons: Two cannons overlapping helped to exhibit that a sailor had served his term in the naval military.

Dice: A set of dice was often chosen by a sailor to show that he was intrepid and a risk-taker. It was also fancied by sailors who relished gambling.

Dragon: A dragon purported that a sailor had been to China.

Harpoon: A harpoon was a mark of belonging to a fishing or whaling fleet.

Hold Fast: Printed out on the knuckles over both hands, “Hold fast” was for deckhands and was a sign that a sailor would never let go of the rope no matter what.

Hula Girl: A figure that implied that a sailor had been to Hawaii.

Lighthouse: A representation of managing light and security against a ship shattering against the rocks. It was also known to symbolize habitat and shelter.

Mermaid/Siren: The call of the siren was considered a superstition. It was assumed that the beautiful lure of a siren’s voice would misguide a craft, and cause it to collapse, or pull a pirate into the sea to find her where he would sink. It was believed that having a mermaid tattoo would protect them against the perils of the sea.

Nautical Star: A nautical star was a popular symbol a sailor would get to be sure they would be escorted to their homes safely.

Pig & Rooster: There was a weird superstition related to the pig and rooster. They were boarded on ship as it was believed that they would prevent any ship to drown.

Pin Up: Oftentimes the sailors wouldn’t see their wives or loved ones for months so a pin-up worked as a token of love left at home, or a sense of female company on a journey.

Rope: Rope inked on a sailor meant that he has served his term as a deckhand.

Rose & Dagger: Showing bravery and a willingness to fight, a dagger passing through a rose meant a fearlessness of conflict or encounter.

Ship: A ship with full sails designated a sailor’s excursion around Cape Horn, which is where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet.

Swallow: The swallow on a sailor is a very popular tattoo design. It meant every five thousand miles that the sailor and his crew have traveled so far. One of the features of a swallow is that it will always find their way back home and so it was believed that swallow would bestow good fortune on the mariners and protect during their voyage, bringing them back home.

Turtle: A turtle was a representation of crossing the equator.

You can utilize nautical and sailor metaphors in your custom tattoo design to grade your own voyages, sense a feeling of satisfaction when traveling, and display reverence for the sailors who have departed before you.

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