The Meanings Behind 19 Classic Sailor Tattoos

Those who travel the world in ships, whether for the military or commercial cargo, often have souvenirs inked in their skin to show where they've been, what they have done, and their hopes for survival. When sailors meet in ship assignments or far away ports, they don't have to speak the same language to know each other's story, because the tattoos are filled with symbolism known among seafaring men the world over. And now the rest of us can learn what they mean. Some have stories behind them.

The foot tattoos of pigs and roosters were worn by sailors in WWII in the hopes it would keep the sailor from drowning. The Navy shipped these animals in crates at the time. When ships went down, the crates floated, and the animals inside would sometimes be the only survivors

Learn the language of seafaring tattoos at Under the Radar. -via Boing Boing

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