Golden Classics: 50+ Sailor Jerry Tattoos You’ll Love

sailor jerry tattoos
Sailor Jerry's tattoos are about the golden age, colorful designs, and Hawaii. In this article, we reveal everything to make your ink outstanding.

If you spent some time searching for aesthetic ink designs, you 100% saw Sailor Jerry tattoos. But what makes them so outstanding and eye-catching? And who is Sailor Jerry?

Since these are common questions, every ink-lover should know how Sailor Jerry influenced the tattoo industry. That’s why we did voluminous research to introduce you to this traditional style.

Get ready, as we are going to shortly run over Sailor Jerry’s biography, his tattoo history, and tons of jaw-dropping ideas.

Searching for a tattoo artist isn’t a problem anymore. Find an expert in the traditional American style in our catalog with more than 1000 tattoo artists.

Sailor Jerry: A Short Story Of The Legend

Before exploring any tattoo ideas, let us tell you the history of this legendary tattooist. Sailor Jerry’s official name is Norman Collins. As a child, Norman left home to chase the American dream. He traveled the country by train. In the late 1920s, fate brought Norman together with Gibs “Tatts” Thomas, who taught Norman the art of using a tattoo machine. 

Crossing the whole country gave him freedom, so he thought crossing the sea would open wider doors for him. At the age of 19, Norman Collins joined the Navy. That game-changing experience helped a future legend gain much inspiration and ideas while traveling through Southeast Asia. 

Upon return, Norman settled in Hawaii. After diving deep into tattooing, he developed his own pigments and created custom needle formations that brought much less trauma to the skin. 

sailor jerry tattoos

Why Sailor Jerry’s Tattoos Are So Meaningful

But the main question remains open. “Why is he well-known as a Sailor Jerry, not Norman Collins?” The fact is that Norman decided to define himself on his terms. That action made him stand out from those born to live a middle-of-the-road life. 

Sailor Jerry applied his life philosophy to the ink. The bright tattoos were an expression of not blindly following the mainstream, but of choosing to live outside the lines for him. 

But this is not the end of the story. Soldiers and other sailors used to seek to seize every possible experience before embarking on their journeys. They all got to Hawaii to hang out with women, drink, and get tattoos. Since Norman Collins was a sailor with a free-life philosophy, his art was in demand.  

Well, how did he express sailor and freedom philosophies through the ink? Let’s investigate.

What About the Variety Of Symbols?

There are myriad ways to fill the ink with an attitude. Let us tell you about the most recognizable and poetic symbols of Sailor Jerry tattoos. 

Since Norman liked the water a lot, his unique designs were full of sea attribution, which included anchors, bottles of booze, ships, and much more. Hawaii and American culture, however, left their trace in Sailor Jerry’s style as well. 

The Reason For Such Popular Symbols

We can guess why ships, anchors, and bottles of booze became popular traditional symbols. But some of them have a fascinating background.

?? Have you ever thought about pin-up women? Why did they become popular? Its cute meaning is worth your attention. Pin-up women’s tattoos gained popularity during WW2. Every man who had to leave his wife or girlfriend for a long time wanted to get a tattoo. This Sailor Jerry tattoo reminded him that his beloved waited for him at home. So there was no other option except to come back. 

? Another symbol you can see is a peacock. At first glance, it’s hard to find a meaning for this Sailor Jerry tattoo. But in reality, it means much more than you think. As you know, peacocks have beautiful ornaments on their tails, which reminds eyes. In this way, the peacock became a symbol of watchfulness, protection, and wisdom during long sea journeys.

The beautiful visual features and the non-obvious deep meaning of Sailor Jerry’s tattoos made them classical.

No words can describe the beauty and aesthetics of Sailor Jerry’s tattoos. So let’s explore photos of the great ink.

sailor jerry tattoos

Remarkable Tattoo Ideas For Inspiration

It’s hard for such a man as Norman Collins, with his adventurous youth, not to come up with some irreplaceable tattoo style. We prepared dozens of remarkable Sailor Jerry tattoos to get you inspired. So let’s dive in.

Black And White

Sailor Jerry did his tattoos in color. But today, you can change a traditional concept to make your tattoo even more pleasing. Black and white notes bring more nostalgic vibes. In addition, the black color is not as fast to fade as any other.


Golden classics. To ensure your tattoo has a traditional look, you should have it in color. A Hawaiian vibe, girls, and other Sailor Jerry classical symbols will give your ink elegance. 

Modern Vibe

Combining classical designs with modern ones can create an exceptional look. Adding something you like is a nice way to make your tattoo even more meaningful. Here you will find out how to properly mix opposite figures. 

Other Fresh Designs

It’s full of classical, modern, and other outstanding symbols combined. If you found previous photos usual, we are sure these won’t leave you without inspiration.

The Best Places to Consider for a Sailor Jerry Tattoo

Choosing a body part to get tattooed is vital. A suitable placement can make your Sailor Jerry tattoo even more appealing. We analyzed hundreds of photos to find the best places for you.

?? The arm can be a breathtaking canvas for traditional ink (even for a sleeve). You can portray almost everything you find meaningful, and it will have an astonishing look with a deep sense.

??‍♀️ Chest is another place to get a Sailor Jerry tattoo. It’s hard to imagine that Hawaiian-style ink there will ruin your aesthetics. You can even go with a bigger tattoo since it is easy to cover. But when on the beach, however, it’s easy to be as pretty as a picture.

? Back Sailor Jerry tattoo can transform your appearance incredibly. It is not the right choice for everybody, but the bravest won’t regret it.

If you think getting the tattoo you want may be expensive, just use our tattoo price calculator to know the price approximately.

The Most Popular Body Parts To Tattoo Among Sailors

When you know more about the meanings behind symbols, you can come up with your unique sense. 

So as a bonus, we want to show you a sailor cheat sheet where you can get placement inspiration and some additional symbols with meanings. 

It is an offbeat piece to feel the sailor vibe and understand the classics’ origins.

sailor jerry tattoos

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to deny that Sailor Jerry’s designs are legendary. You can apply this classical style to almost every symbol you want. And what is even more essential, it won’t lose its distinctiveness.

If you have any doubts, be free to dive into our catalog with more than 1000 tattoo artists. By finding your perfect tattooist, you’ll forget about all your ink problems.

Overall, Sailor Jerry is the Da Vinci of the tattoo world. With its innovative style and ability to convey that vibe, he’d left an ink trace for quite a long time.


⚓ What Does the Sailor Jerry Tattoo Mean?

Sailor Jerry tattoos are versatile and can mean everything. But as this style gained popularity in maritime culture, it can represent values such as courage, adventure, loyalty, and the spirit of the sea.

? What Does the Three Nails Tattoo Mean?

Three nail tattoos can have several meanings. The most common, however, is the symbol of unity (the idea of being together to overcome obstacles) and the symbol of strength.

? Are Sailor Jerry Tattoos American Traditional?

Yes, Sailor Jerry’s tattoos are one of the most significant representatives of the American traditional style. Sailor Jerry’s vibe and classical features will be topical for a long time.

⛵ What Does the Sailor Knot Tattoo Mean?

The sailor knot tattoo can have various meanings. But one of the most popular is that the knot is a symbol of stability and security. It represents a reminder to stay grounded and a desire of finding security in relationships or personal ambitions.


Was this article helpful?

You may also enjoy these articles: