In general, sailor tattoos symbolize courage, bravery and a certain toughness of spirit. Most symbols in sailor tattoos also serve as talismans for protection. Most often, sailor tattoo designs are popular with the mainstream crowd. Designs include stars, mermaids, birds, and flowers, pin up girls and pirate flags and ships. Sailor tattoos can reflect a wide array of personality traits.

Some sailor tattoo designs surpass the more obscure symbolism and get straight to the heart of sailing, including the ship and all things related to it. Designs often include a wooden boat, a bare-bosomed mermaid at the bow or a pirate flag. Some of the most recognizable designs are nautical stars and birds such as sparrows and swallows.

While sailor tattoos were and still widely used by people who have a career at sea, they are also extremely popular to many people who have a fondness for the history, nature and culture that surrounds these fascinating sailor tattoos. Additionally, sailor tattoos are not just popular on men, they are very popular among women as well, and not only to women who have a career at sea. Most often, women choose sailor tattoos without realizing that its roots lay deep in sailing history.

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