Skip to main content

Pirate-Themed Tattoo Ideas: Skulls, Ships, and More

Kitty is no expert on tattoos, but she does have a few of her own. She enjoys sharing ideas on tattoos inspired by various topics.

Why Get a Pirate-Themed Tattoo?

Disney's film series The Pirates of the Caribbean started an all-out obsession with pirates, but hasn't that obsession always been there? Of course it has.

People have been getting pirate-themed tattoos since way before Disney paid Johnny Depp millions to act like a drunk on camera (or to just act like himself, for that matter). In fact, the real pirates of years past had tattoos before they were even mainstream.

So why get one? Well, if you're obsessed with pirates (and I'm not talking about Johnny Depp here people), you might want to get one to represent your addiction to the pirate life, or maybe you want to get one to show off your rebellious spirit. Maybe you have a longing to set sail on the seven seas and join the pirates of the past, but you can't go aboard without having the essential tattoo.

Need some ideas? No problem.

Pirate-Themed Tattoo Ideas

  • There's always the skull-and-crossbones, like this classic pirate skull by or a skull clenching a dagger between its teeth, like this one by @nate.hartley.tattoos.
  • You can go for the simple Jolly Roger flag or go with a more elaborate version. The choice is yours.
  • If you want a pirate tattoo that has a little more flair and personality, add a saying such as "Dead Men Tell No Tales," "Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum," or "Fair Wiinds, Smooth Seas." Pick one of your favorite pirate quotes and add that.
  • Or add a bandana with your favorite color or pattern to the pirate skull tattoo of your choice.

Imagery That Represents Pirates:

  • Swords (bloody swords, crossed swords)
  • Cannons
  • Booze or Bottles of Rum
  • Treasure (coins, jewels; a treasure chest)
  • Pirate Ship
  • Swallows
  • Tools of Navigation: anchor, compass, map, nautical star
  • Skeleton Sailors

Pirate ships can be a very detailed and eye-catching tattoo perfect for any wannabe Blackbeard! Get it in color, with the blue ocean waves lapping against the sides of the ship or in simple black and white so as to appear as if you got it when pirates still terrorized the oceans.

There are many other tattoos to be plastered on your dirty pirate body, matey. If your favorite movie is Pirates of the Caribbean, opt for a Jack Sparrow or Calypso tattoo. Or go with your favorite pirate in histories such as Blackbeard, Captain Morgan, Mrs. Cheng, Anne Bonney, or Calico Jack. You could even get a tattoo that includes Davey Jones and his beating heart!

Whatever you choose, make sure it's a tattoo that you will want for life. Add a couple of bottles of rum, and you'll be a pirate forever. Just be sure to not get a tattoo that will make you want to walk the plank. Good luck!

A pirate might be covered in nautical tattoos.

A pirate might be covered in nautical tattoos.

Pirate Sayings, Quotes, and Expressions

  • Pillage and plunder!
  • Batten down the hatches.
  • Weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen.
  • Here be treasure, matey.
  • Thar she blows!
  • Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.
  • Prepare to be boarded.
  • May your anchor be tight, your cork loose, your rum spiced, and your compass true.
  • Dead men tell no tales.
  • May your blade always be wet and your powder dry.
  • Walk the plank, ye scallywag.
  • Obey the captain or learn to swim.
  • Sailing the seven seas.
  • Shiver me timbers!
  • Avast, ye scurvy dog.
  • Ahoy matey!
  • Troubled waters ahead.
  • Flying the black flag.
  • Collecting barnacles.
  • The rougher the seas, the smoother we sail.

Nautical Tattoos: Mermaids, Sparrows, Ships, and Pirates

Ship Tattoos: Design Ideas and Meanings

Traditional Nautical Sailor Tattoos: Meanings, Origins, & Ideas

© 2011 Kitty Fields


bignic on January 05, 2012:

No! Any pirate tat is a bad idea. Seriously

Joe from Pennsylvania, USA on October 27, 2011:

No ho, no ho, a plain-skinned life fer me. But this here gets a thumb to thee sky fer not bein long-winded, spammy, or other hornswaggle.

Admiral_Joraxx from Philippines on October 27, 2011:

Pirates are really very interesting. I am fascinated of their own sense of freedom in the seas. And having them printed in our body is not a bad idea. After all, I guess pirates have tattoos in their bodies too. Doing this will make us feel with them and like them. Nice post Kitty. 1 vote up and interesting.