Top 103 Nautical Tattoo Ideas [2020 Inspiration Guide]
A slick seafaring vibe can be reached with nautical tattoos. These ravishing oceanic emblems are fearlessly refined for any guy who feels connected to the expansive waters.
For a dash of deep sea nebulousness, guys everywhere are discovering a match made in heaven via nautical tattoos.
These old-school illustrations are bringing ancient cartography back to life. In plenty of hipster scenes, 18th century maps are being flaunted with all of their misguided conceptions of the planet. The false geography combines with warnings of non-existent sea demons to craft magically enchanting illustrations. This nuanced convergence marks a top-notch niche of body art divinity.
Vintage vessels are also in the stages of a grandiose revival. Retro ships are returning to fruition with the totality of their original impressiveness. The archaic equipment is excellent for rummaging through in search of tattoo inspiration.
For proof, the masts are a critical element, and they always catch the eye of intrigued audiences. The crow’s nest is another pertinent piece of the overall temptation. Anchors and compasses are also invaluable for the aquatic flair. Black flags adorned with skulls and crossbones will add the gumption of a pirate.
To reach extravagant depths of suave mysteriousness, just take a dive into our pool of nautical tattoos.
Nautical Tattoo Ideas
An impressive rustic anchor intertwined with a rope which adds to its aesthetic appeal. This muted black, gray and a hint of earthy brown tattoo is deeply saturated and in high definition for added dimension. It’s contrast against the pale skin of this human canvas is striking. It is the perfect background for this good looking art work. Great shading work of the tattoo artist making this boring piece of metal look polished, good-looking and extremely sexy on guy’s this well-toned torso.
This modern approach on nautical tattoos, particularly these twin anchors on both side of the upper chest. The illustration is outlined in thin lines, contoured with dark gray shadows for depth and a more realistic appearance of these metal anchors. If the desire of choosing two anchors on both sides of the neck is for stability and direction, then these two tattoos are a good place to start. It’ll be a persistent reminder of the goal.
A sheep wheel symbolizes several meanings in sailor tattoos but generally represent leadership, victory and is a reminder for the wearer not to stray and to strictly adhere to plans. Paired off with the compass, which basically is tasked to provide real time directions. Both nautical tattoos are the best tools once you have to make sure are with you once you set out on a new adventure. This tattoo is made in wood tones, different shaded of earthy browns multi dimension for this simple and unassuming concept.
This is a well-executed geometrical pattern-filled anchor tattoo in shades of blue. Black is smartly added for contour throughout the tattoo. This piece is drawn in three-dimension giving the whole drawing additional texture and body.
This is a collection of small nautical tattoos placed on the arm with an abstract background at the lower arm. This is a perfect black and gray piece for the man who loves the water and sailing.
The light house is a beacon of hope on nights wherein tragedy strikes your nautical adventure. This black and gray piece is done soft delicate strokes to mimic that of illumination illusion. Artist threw in some other details to make the light house scene to add aesthetic beauty into the art work. Swaying grasses of different sizes surround the lighthouse, a power house, a rock formation, and of course, the restless water.
A traditional black and gray illustration of the northern star with the rose and anchor as added details. This is stunning in its execution; the lines are will defined and the outlines are deeply saturated. The use of black for contour provides a beautiful contrast against the skin of the canvas and adds depth into the illustration giving it added dimension. This piece must be tribute by the sailors for their women who are left at the opposite side of the ocean to tend to family. These women: mother, wife, girlfriend or daughter is the anchor who keeps them grounded, content and happy.
The old school has a dark humor imbedded in its creation. This has fantastic color combination of the warm yellow to the cool bluish gray for water cradling the ship in all of its three masts in glorious display. It is definitely the anchor, symbolically drawn and attached at both sides of this creation, that keeps everyone safe and balanced.
This is a more subdued light house tattoo design on the lower leg of this canvas. The cloud work, contour and contrast of these cotton like formation, used as the background and at the same time provides texture with the way how the clouds were shaded. The tower top illustration is more saturated but also given more highlights to give it illumination from the top. This light house was given more height and dimension as it stood tall and lean against a dark, agitated clouds. The water below mimics the behavior of the skies, restless and temperamental.
The traditional American tattoo is definitely classic and will never go out of style. On the head, it is completely a different level altogether. The placement and design are one of a kind. A Polynesian tribal border sets the artwork with the plumeria on top to welcome the explorers in friendship and economic growth for both parties. The lines throughout the border and at the nape indicate change, growth and progress. Of course, at the center is the main feature, a full rigged sailing ship with its three masts in splendid display. This is a cohesive and vibrant illustrative tattoo with the colors deeply saturated.
The inner arm inked with a sailing ship full rigged, on the waters with the rectangular rigs in full display. This black and gray illustration has fine line details because of the several rope lines. The clouds above the ship and the waters underneath, are of the same shade providing balance to the piece in terms of shading.
This black and gray tattoo of a sailing ship with its masts flying high and proud. The border of the illustration is a steering wheel further intertwined by the anchor’s restrains. The adventure beckons for the sailor, he smells the sea and feels the salty breeze on his face, the sound and strength of the current he hears, the adrenaline rush of the uncertainty and possible discoveries rises. He sets sail, he has control of the navigation and it is the anchor which will eventually bring him home. This is a detailed and deeply saturated of the three symbols which are considered sacred for some, meaningful for the others because of what it represents to them.
The symbolic triad of the sailing ship, northern star and the nautical compass all in one magnificent tattoo. The body is a huge canvas to fill and is the perfect placement for this black and gray tattoo in realism technique, shading and contrast bring this creation to life with texture and definition. The compass, looks amazingly real and glistening like a real metal. Artist was able to add details in three-dimension inside the compass, even the fingers has shadows. The masts are shaded finely in extra feathered, extra-delicate strokes. The contour on the rigs give it body such that the viewer feels the breeze at sea even just by looking at this creation.
Nautical Tattoo FAQs
What do nautical tattoos mean?
The sailor and modern man who are also drawn to the water whether to hangout or sail might take on nautical themed tattoos for his skin. There are several popular symbols, objects or talisman to choose from since most, are superstitious, though they will not admit it on record.
I’ve narrowed down the list according to what is popular among the gallery above and provide their meanings. Here are five:
- Sailing Ships – There are several stunning fully rigged-sailing ships tattoos which the owner can be proud of or even just the ones who are considering to carry ship tattoos. A fully-rigged ship is one with three or more masts, square sails fully deployed. The inspiration is vast, very varied and, the realism style of tattooing is gaining popularity and huge following, even the ships now can look very real on the skin. Traditionally, a tattoo of a fully-rigged ship from the age of sail means the sailor had been around Cape Horn, the rough, stormy waters around the southern tip of South America.
- Anchor – In the Navy, sailors get an anchor tattoo after successfully crossing, and returning from the Atlantic Ocean. It is also the most secure object on the ship, so its image serves as the symbol of stability and unfaltering faith. A single anchor means the sailor crossed the Atlantic or has been a member of the merchant marine, a fleet of civilian ships that carries military cargo. In wartime, this fleet is mobilized to carry war materiel, including troops and supplies. These recent years, an anchor You might also see a sweetheart’s name as well.
- Compass – Is ultimately a good luck charm for a sailor to find his home. It also protects them from losing their way or losing track of their sense of self along the way. The long journey at sea can sometimes get the better of you. Homesickness is not also easy to overcome. Some compass designs feature the North Star and the Rose of the Winds which is usually a tribute for the wife who is waiting for the husband to come home. When compasses were originally created, they were used as divination instruments, meant to guide people spiritually. Compasses first showed up in China during the Han Dynasty, and it was only in the 11th century that they became popularly used as navigation tools.
- Lighthouse – A symbol of guiding light and protection against a ship crashing against the rocks. It was also known to represent home and shelter for the lost sailors. It is also used known to signify guidance, warning, safety, hope, direction and faith.
Northern Star – This is a popular emblem sailor would get to be sure they would be guided home safely. Traditionally used for navigations out at sea. Sailors often got tattoos of nautical stars or “compass stars” for superstitious reasons, hoping that the star would help guide their way through the night and get them home safely. The nautical star tattoo has now become popular among Navy Seal and Coast Guard members. The nautical star tattoo is usually rendered as a five-pointed star with alternating colors to mimic the colors on the compass rose found on nautical charts. The nautical star is a hugely popular tattoo, even today.