Navy Tattoo Meanings, Design & Ideas

Depending on your family or where you grew up you might have an affinity towards one branch of military versus another. For instance, my dad was in the Air Force, but my neighbor had a dad who had previously been in the Army. Clearly, I would be interested in the branch of the military that my dad was in versus what my neighbor’s dad was in.

The point is, that everyone has an interest in a different branch for different reasons. The branch of the military we are discussing now is the Navy.

The U.S. Navy is responsible for one of the most well-known special operations forces in the world; the Navy Seals. The SEALs are well-known throughout the world and have been the subjects of many movies and documentaries. However, there is more to the Navy than just the Navy SEALs. One thing that many Navy men, women and families have in common is some version of the U.S. Navy tattoo. A sign of respect or honoring of the branch of military you were in; a Navy tattoo is a great way to show this reverence.

In this post, we are going to talk about the history of the Navy. We will also talk about some Navy tattoos and the meaning behind them for the people who wear them. As in with most tattoos, there are many variations or versions of the tattoo we are talking about, so we will discuss a few variations and talk about the meaning of those tattoos.

History of the Navy

The U.S. Navy was born out of a seafaring tradition and it produced shipbuilders, captains and sailors. During the American Revolutionary War, the state of Massachusetts had its own navy. During the Second Continental Congress, it was debated whether to establish a national navy. People against a national navy argued it was foolish to face the British Royal Navy, the world power at the time. However, those who supported the cause said a national navy would help make it easier to ask for foreign aid, protect the coast and defend shipping.

George Washington settled the issue by commissioning the USS Hannah to attack a British ship and then report its captures to Congress. At this point, the Continental Congress approved purchasing two armed ships to be used against British merchant ships. This was the creation of the Continental Navy and was considered the beginning of the U.S. Navy.

Now the U.S. Navy is the most capable and largest navy in the world. They have eleven carrier fleets and at this time, close to adding two more. There are around 320,000 active U.S. Navy members and about 100,000 on reserve. The Navy is the third largest of all the service branches.

There are some interesting facts about the U.S. Navy. First of all, every submariner is a volunteer. Most of these submarines are about the length of a football field and 33 feet wide. They stay underwater for what could be months in one trip. With no windows and no way to tell what time of day it is, being on a submarine is not an easy task. It takes a special kind of person to volunteer for this.

Another group of specialized people in the U.S. Navy are the SEALs. SEAL stands for Sea, Air and Land teams. It is abbreviated to SEAL. They are the U.S. Navy’s special warfare unit and among the elite soldiers in the world. They are the best of the best and trained to perform in all environments.

Modern-day SEALs can follow their heritage back to the days of World War II. The U.S. Navy realized the need for a covert reconnaissance of coastal defenses and landing beaches. Because of this, the Amphibious Scout and Raider School was created in Fort Pierce, FL in 1942. The team was formed in September of that same year and was only nine months after Pearl Harbor was attacked.

Navy Tattoo Meaning

The meaning of the Navy tattoo was born out of respect for the service branch. If you have a Navy tattoo and don’t have a connection to this branch of service, you might get called out. This goes for any person getting a tattoo for a branch of service in which they never served.

That being said, you can say the Navy tattoo meaning is one that shows these men served for their country and are proud of the history. There are many nautical symbols that represent things you’ve done and time at sea, but these aren’t necessarily for the Navy. However, many navy personnel will have these images tattooed on their body.

Navy Tattoo Variations

There are a few variations of the Navy tattoo that we have seen on people. Most of these images revolve around nautical symbols of the sea. Images that pertain to the water and the time spent out there. Below are a few examples.

Anchor Tattoo

The anchor tattoo is often associated with people who have been at sea for a long time or members of the U.S. Navy. It is said that a Navy soldier will get the anchor tattoo after they have crossed the Atlantic Ocean. For other sailors, it is a sign of a strong and stable foundation. It can also symbolize composure, salvation, steadfastness and hope. All of which seem to be characteristics that would be useful for a member of the U.S. Navy.

Ship Tattoo

The Navy ship tattoo seems like a good choice for the soldier who has spent a great deal of time at sea. Most of the members of the Navy spent large amounts of time on a ship so getting this tattoo is a reminder of the time spent with their fellow soldiers.

Flag and Eagle Navy Tattoo

The flag and eagle Navy tattoo represent the patriotism of the person wearing it. Not that a person would have to prove how patriotic they are after serving their country, but it is a testament to the service and the country they serve. There is a great deal of pride for those in the Navy and this tattoo is representative of that.

1 thought on “Navy Tattoo Meanings, Design & Ideas”

  1. Good article.
    Under the heading – History of the Navy – in the second paragraph you write:-
    “it was foolish to face the British Royal Navy, ”
    In any conversation there is no need to use the word ‘British’. The combination of the words Royal Navy is exclusive and they speak to common knowledge.
    For a newcomer to the phrase and in hearing of ‘British’ it might give the impression that there is more than one Royal Navy.
    We all know that just isn’t so……
    ex Royal


Leave a Comment