The meaning behind sailors' beautiful, nautical themed inkings


PulitzerLogo jjg
A Christmas Swim in Catalan
The Magic Yeti Crab
The Home of the Weta Bug

Compromised as they may seem, sailors' tattoos once held significance and occasionally still do. At the height of the ship-faring age, symbols like the anchor and north star signified rank and experience, while others were meant to ward off bad fortunes at sea. (Fun fact: The Macy's logo comes from a star tattoo that founder Rowland Hussey Macy got inked on his hand while working on a whaling ship as a teenager.)

In collaboration with Christina Sun at Bowsprite, we've put together a compendium of sailor tattoos and their respective meanings.

This post also appears on Scuttlefish, an Atlantic partner site.