Did you know that there are meanings behind many of the tattoos that sailors have? They could tell what type of job a sailor had, how far they had traveled, or some were just for good luck. For example, a sailor “earned” a swallow tattoo for every 5,000 nautical miles traveled. A shellback turtle meant a sailor had crossed the Equator. Pig and rooster tattoos were worn to prevent drowning.
We think beachcombers should have tattoos to honor their experiences, too! Here are a few ideas for your next ink.
For sailor tattoos, see Lucy Bellwood’s The Art of the Sailor.
This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine March/April 2020 issue.