Now obviously there’s a lot of types of ship. Surprisingly enough though I’m not going to massively concern myself with the meaning behind oil liners and tug boats. I will be mainly focusing on the “tall ship” or “ship of the line” style tattoos.
If you haven’t heard those names before then a tall ship just means a ship with tall masts and sails. A ship of the line is so called because when tall ships went into battle back in the days of canons and “full broad sides”, all of the ships in the fleet would typically sail in a line together so… ships of the line.
Ship tattoos are obviously another naval tattoo that would have been popular among sailors in the navy and any other sea fairing types in general really.
One thing a ship tattoo can symbolize is adventure. Ships are a symbol of sailing into the unknown and embarking on an adventure. So if you’re maybe going traveling or taking on a new challenge a ship tattoo would be an excellent way to remember it.
However ship tattoos can also represent home. Sailors would often talk about going home as back in the day, a ship full of sweaty blokes and being shot at with canons couldn’t have been the ideal place to be. At that point their moms cooking probably seemed like paradise to them.
Many of the men sailing these ships knew that, once they set foot on that ship, there was a higher than slim chance that they may never return home. In this way ship tattoos can symbolize bravery and honor or a sense of duty that drives you on.
Ships are also symbols of navigation and direction. This means they can be a great tattoo to make a change in direction in your life. Or maybe you have realized what path you need to be on and the ship tattoo can mark the new course you have set for yourself.
Lastly, these old ships could well last a few lifetimes and bear many scars of war. Due to this, ships can be a great metaphor for having a troubled past and maybe bearing the scars but, you carried on and made it through the hard times.