The shark has some obvious connotations such as fear and aggression, but there is a lot more to the symbolism and meaning associated with sharks than just being a bad ass killing machine.
The Maori regard the shark as “king of the waters”. It’s a fairly accurate description I suppose! In their culture the shark is a potent symbol of victory and power.
For sailors, many servicemen, pirates and pretty much anyone else who spends a good amount of time at sea may well consider the shark tattoo a symbol of protection while on the water. Much like a good luck charm or how the ancient Celts regarded their rune tattoos as protection in battle.
Sharks were a popular tattoo for the men of the navy. While traveling from port to port the navy men would get tattoos at the ports, where the tattoo studios inevitably were because they weren’t stupid, to remind them of their travels. Obviously as they were in the navy a shark would have been a popular choice.
There are many traits that a shark symbolizes. As mentioned they certainly represent power, to be more precise a raw primal power. They also certainly represent natural instinct and focus.
Sharks also seem to be fearless and not show any emotion or hesitation. They do what needs to be done. I would say these traits are also representative of confidence and self-assurance.
So there’s a lot more meaning there than what most people automatically think of right away. This makes sharks a great tattoo idea if you’re a fan of hidden meaning in your tattoos.