Eye-catching And Unique: 60 Ship Tattoos Just For You

Ship Tattoos
This article contains 60 fully original, distinctive, and eye-catching ship tattoo ideas. Bonus: all meanings explained.

In today’s world, tattoos have become very popular, as they help people express themselves and allow them to personify their bodies with beautiful and meaningful drawings. 

Sometimes it is very difficult to choose a tattoo that relates to a particular subject. There are many beautiful ship-themed tattoos on the internet, but how to choose the right one?

In this article, we will show you a bunch of different ideas for tattoos with ships on different parts of the body.

If you haven’t picked your master yet, go through our list of over a thousand certified tattoo artists who are ready to bring all your fantastic ideas to life!

What Does the Ship Tattoo Mean?

Many years ago, sailors used to wear drawings on their bodies as talismans. For example, a tattoo of a ship with raised sails meant that its owner was able to cross the most dangerous place of that time — Cape Horn.

Tattoos were often used to identify those who were lost at sea. A tattoo of a ship sunk on reefs or waves in the sea marked the grave of the deceased so that they could be buried with all honors.

Ships were tattooed as a sign of protection from shipwrecks and hope for returning home. Such a tattoo also symbolized adventure, journey, expedition, transition, and rescue in a critical situation. The meaning of the word “sea” is transformed and spreads to different spheres of life.

Ships have always been symbols of the desire for change, a prosperous way of life, and the search for better lands to inhabit.

Ship Tattoo

Overall, the ship is a symbol that has many meanings. Some of the less common interpretations that a boat tattoo can have are luxury and wealth, commerce, foresight, and nobility. The boat is also a sign of stability and elevation.

The ship is also a symbol of fertility. Less commonly, but always used as a symbol of a woman. In a tattoo, a sea boat can serve as a sign of the womb, the protective aspect of the Great Mother.

The specific image of the ship in the sketch affects its meaning. Sailboats sunk in the water are the graves of sailors. A cracked ship or one that has crashed into a reef is a talisman. A ship with lowered sails represents the desire for discovery, change, and prosperity, while one with raised sails is a symbol of reflection.

The color scheme of the tattoo is no less important. When it depicts red sails, it means realizing a dream and expecting love, and romance. White color symbolizes happiness, joy, and success.

Sometimes it can be very difficult to find the right design for a tattoo, so read our step-by-step guide to choosing the one.

60 Best Ship Tattoo Ideas


Ship tattoos are often done on the forearm, as you will feel the least amount of pain tattooing on this spot, and everyone can see and admire it. Also, you can do either small tattoos on this area or bigger ones (you can cover the entire arm with it) in black & white or other colors

Don’t know exactly where is the best place to get the tattoo without pain? Our article about the pain chart can help you!


Tattoos on the shoulder are very popular because it is one of the painless areas, and the rounded, correct shape of this part of the body gives the drawing the necessary realism, volume, and convexity. It is also believed that tattoos on the shoulder retain their attractive appearance because the skin here is the most resilient and changes less over the years.

Want to see more modern shoulder tattoos? We’ve collected the best ones in our article!


When creating a tattoo on the wrist, it is worth taking some nuances into account because the hand is the place for small tattoos with a clear pattern.

If you desire to score a tattoo with a huge amount of small details, then it is worth picking up another place for the drawing because the ink here can be smeared with time or the drawing, trivially, may not fit in this area.

Also, if there are scars on the wrist, then it is possible to hide skin imperfections, agreeing on a drawing with the master. That is why tattoos are often used for medical purposes.


A ship design on the thigh is a great choice for those who dream of a large and beautiful tattoo. Here, your fantasy can unfold in full measure. This zone is the largest canvas for your tattoo; more free space can be found only on your back.

Such a tattoo will be hidden most of the time from prying eyes, but your drawing will be exposed to the sights of others in the hot season when you can wear shorts. Also, you will attract admiring looks at the pool or on the beach, especially because there will be a big ship. A tattoo on the thigh will not cause you problems in the workplace, even if there is a strict dress code and other requirements for appearance.

Want to see more spectacular thigh tattoo designs? Go to our article and check out 55 unique tattoo ideas!


Stylish drawings of different sizes for young people who want to attract attention to themselves and at the same time give the image a rather intimate nature because it will be seen only by the closest people — these are all tattoos on the back. One of the advantages of applying such tattoos is the large surface area of the skin. Even the finished composition can be regularly supplemented, adding new touches to the overall picture.


A chest tattoo is a great choice for people who like big tattoos. The under-breast tattoo is great for modest, concise drawings. There is a wide variety of ideas for drawings in this category.

Men’s breast tattoos are often larger than women’s. They are ideal for visually enhancing pectoral muscles, aesthetically correcting defects, and emphasizing virtues. An open t-shirt or shirt with a deep neckline will make your tattoo stand out. 

Female chest tattoos, which are commonly positioned in the décolletage area, may appear fashionable and attractive. This might be a little tattoo on the chest or a massive, colorful tattoo. With an open dress or swimming suit, your tattoo will draw loving glances, but it will not cause discomfort during working hours.


Although the ships in real life are quite large and have great meaning, lovers of minimalism were able to present the beauty of ships in a small size, making the tattoo more intimate, neat, and elegant.

If you are a minimalist and want more ideas for small tattoos, check out our article!


Color tattooing is based on working with different pigments. Its technical execution can be performed in many variants. These can be simple colors, smooth gradients in realism, bright, sometimes even acidic colors, as well as delicate, refined shades in watercolor works.

Want a tattoo in a realistic style but don’t know any artists? Read our article about the top 10 tattoo artists!

Shipwreck Tattoos

A shipwreck tattoo may not be as popular as other types of ship tattoos, but it is still a unique and creative alternative. For some people, this tattoo means a new beginning; for others, it means courage and the will to overcome life’s difficulties. Conversely, the design can represent the destruction of the past and the birth of a new future.

Pirate Ship Tattoos

Pirate ship tattoos are a popular tattoo design among individuals who enjoy pirate history or have a love of the sea. These tattoos often include a conventional pirate ship with a skull and crossbones flag, billowing sails, and, on occasion, a Jolly Roger emblem.

The pirate ship itself might be depicted realistically or stylized, with elaborate elements like rigging, guns, and waves added for emphasis. The ship may alternatively be depicted in action, with sails spread and guns blazing, or at rest in a tranquil harbor.

How To Take Care of the New Tattoo?

In the first 12 hours after tattooing, it is better not to remove the bandage to avoid infection. However, after this time, it is necessary to apply a layer of antibacterial/vaseline ointment twice a day, but not to apply a new bandage. Twice a day, gently wash the tattoo area with soap and water and gently pat dry before reapplying the antibacterial/vaseline ointment. Continue to apply a moisturizer or ointment after you clean the skin to keep it moist.

If you want to read more about aftercare for your new tattoo, check out our article!


The nautical meaning of the ship tattoo can be used in different spheres of life, for example, by giving the tattoo the meaning of adventure, travel, and expedition. Also, a tattoo of a ship shows the strength and determination of the owner, setting it up for success because, in ancient times, such tattoos were amulets for sailors.

Thanks to our research, this article features 60 stunning ship tattoo designs, ranging from minimalist to pirate styles, with descriptions of their meanings to help you make an informed decision about your future ink.


🌊 What Does a Clipper Ship Symbolize?

Legendary clipper ship tattoos reflect both the desire for exploration and the resolution to return home.

⛴️ What Does a “Fully Rigged Ship” Tattoo Mean?

A tattoo depicting a fully-rigged ship from the age of sail indicates that the sailor had been around Cape Horn, the wild, windy waters off South America’s southern point. A fully-rigged ship has three or more masts and fully deployed square sails.

🚢 What Are Ships a Symbol Of?

Ships have been alternately interpreted as feminine emblems of fertility, symbols of faith, peace, discovery, calamity, power, life, death, and the afterlife throughout history.

🛶 What Does a Viking Ship Tattoo Mean?

They represent something daring that demands bravery. The Viking ships are related to terror, since their presence frequently signified that wars and attacks would follow.

🛳️ Why Do People Get Ship Tattoos?

Many people like the aesthetics of the sea and ships, so much so that they would like to express themselves with a ship tattoo. Also, some people like the meaning of tattoos, which you can read in the unit of ship tattoo’s meaning.


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