Why you should get a sailor tattoo, even if a paddling pool scares you silly

Why you should get a sailor tattoo, even if a paddling pool scares you silly

To those who like to cuss ‘hipsters’, whether it’s their vegan diets, facial hair that extends 75% beyond the silently agreed upon perimeters of a human being or their nautical themed tattoos, I say do one! If you’re considering getting a sailor tatt, you should 100% go for it, here’s why.

Sailor tattoos are some of the original tattoos, the Super Nintendo equivalent in the evolution of the console if you will. Timeless. The library of sailor tattoos we know and love today date as far back as the 16th century when servicemen fought in faraway lands.


Picture this, your ship is getting tossed in the air like a mouse at the mercy of a bored cat (OK I’m trying to paint a scene here) while deep in the ship’s underbelly your fellow serviceman stabs a swallow into your forearm by flickering candlelight, a souvenir of the 5000 nautical miles travelled.

Unsure if they’d ever reach land again, seafaring folk lived for the moment and their tattoos represented just that. Fast forward to 2016, admittedly many owners of sailor tattoos aren’t serviceman, BUT THAT’S NOT THE POINT, the sentimentality behind them remains the same. You don’t get a tattoo because you’re convinced your 80 year old self will want to high five you for your it, you get it because at that point in time, it represents you and what you like. Tattoos are mementos of certain points in our lives, they tell a story.

Sailor Tattoo

But aren’t nautical themed tattoos just like stealing someone else’s story? No. Whilst sailor tattoos are heavily symbolic, opting for a tattoo of an anchor doesn’t have to mean you’ve successfully returned back from the Atlantic Ocean, it can represent stability and unfaltering faith. Similar to all forms of art, tattoo trends go full circle and meanings transcend.

But unlike most forms of art, tattoos don’t exist in galleries, they exist on bodies, and bodies die.  Wahhhhhhh  Like the folklore tales spoken around campfires in ye olde times which relied on the spoken telling passed from generation to generation to stay alive, the tradition of sailor tattoos continues because of those who choose to adorn their bodies with them.

Sailor Tattoo

And for those who need clarification, sailor tattoos are anything that give a shout out to the seafaring tradition of way back when; ships, anchors, mermaids, sharks, pin up girls etc.

Sailor tattoos are almost always created in a traditional style. This is because the first tattoo machines weren’t as advanced as they are today. For tattoos to last they favoured bold black line work, vivid saturated colours, minimal shading and internationally simple designs. And it’s that bare necessities approach which creates something so classic and dreamy. It’s like beans on toast, the little black dress, don’t over complicate it!

So sailor tattoos are well and truly here to stay and our resident artist Cava for one, is pretty chuffed about that. Cava is silly passionate for all things representing a ‘seafaring tradition with a touch of madness’ so unsurprisingly sailor tattoos are his specialty. For more of his work see here.

If you’re thinking about getting a sailor tattoo, pop by the studio and have a chat with Cava, or send us an email to info@parlourtattoo.co.uk. Ahoy!



Jess is our shop manager/PR guru at Parlour. She scribbles a weekly post giving her undiluted opinions on tattoos and the industry for the heavily inked and those that are yet to feel the wrath of the tattoo machine!