Water Tattoo Designs, Ideas, and Meanings

Updated on January 17, 2016
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Richard Hale is a tattoo enthusiast who studies and researches tattoo symbolism, meanings, and history.


Water's Importance and Symbolisms

When it comes to life, nothing can survive without water. Every living animal, human, and plant needs it to live. As humans, our bodies are made up of water. In the tattoo world, it can be very symbolic. In this article, you will learn what symbols are associated with water and what they can represent.

  • Many cultures, ancient and present, believe that water is associated and linked to the soul. They believe that it has the ability to cleanse the body, soul, and mind.
  • It has always been one of the most important elements and building blocks of life to every human, plant, and animal. Without it, life is not possible.
  • It is also one of the four basic elements of the world, along with fire, air, and the earth.
  • Ancient cultures knew the importance early on. They knew that it was crucial to every living thing. They also believed that it had the ability to wash away evil and anything negative. No other culture may have shown this more then the ancient Celts.
  • It can also be seen as a Christian symbol that represents purification or purity. In Christianity, holy water is used to cleanse the body and soul. It is also used during baptisms, for prayers, for healing, and to ward off evil spirits. For these reasons, water tattoos can also represent protection, healing, and purity.
  • It can also symbolize rebirth and regeneration. This can be related to a variety of different reasons. In Christianity, as mentioned, since holy water is used during a baptism to cleanse the body and soul and be forgiven for your sins, you are ultimately born again in the name of Jesus Christ. Since it also brings life to all living things, it can mean creation to others. Water has the ability to bring back living things on the brink of death as well.
  • As you read earlier, it is one of the four general elements of the world. On top of that, it can also be associated to the moon and femininity. The moon actually controls the movements of the oceans. Since the power of water is undeniable, a tattoo version can represent power and strength. You may see some moon tattoos done in water also, for example.
  • Although it has the ability to create life, it can also take life away. Water is powerful and can be destructive, as seen in hurricanes, typhoons, and tidal waves.



There are a variety of different water tattoo designs to choose from.

  • You can have it so that it appears to splash your skin, or you may want to get one that portrays a wave or ripple.
  • Some people may choose to get a full back design of the ocean, while others may choose a pond, lake, or some other type of standing water.

There are a also vast array of symbols and animals that can be associated with it.

  • Sharks, whales, dolphins, turtles, starfish, and koi can all be done with water designs.
  • Maritime symbols, ships, and boats are also portrayed with it.
  • The lotus flower and other flowers can be seen as well.
  • Some tattoo artists can put their own creative twist on it for you, such as skull and water, or a moon made out of water.


Meanings and Ideas

There are a vast array of meanings. In cases where another symbol is added, such as a shark or dolphin, the meaning changes. However, when it is portrayed as a splash, wave, or standing, it can be associated with:

  • Spirituality
  • Cleansing
  • Purity
  • Peaceful
  • Serenity
  • Power
  • Strength
  • Soul
  • Tranquility
  • Forceful
  • Rebirth
  • Regeneration
  • Life
  • Creation

It can also represent peace, serenity, and tranquility. From a nice hot bath to the sound of a peaceful waterfall, it carried the ability to relax the body, soul, and mind.

In the Western Zodiac, the signs of Scorpio, Cancer, and Pisces are all associated with water, so these signs can come into play in a tattoo design as well. The possibilities are endless.

Depending on what symbol is associated with water, the meaning of your tattoo can differ from that of water alone. The most common meanings are purity and cleansing. It is used to represent many things in life, so in the end, your tattoo represents what you want it to.

Important Tip

You should always take your time and research multiple tattoo symbols, designs, and meanings. You want to allow yourself time to understand what your design represents and stands for. Remember, take your time and don't rush into getting a tattoo.

If you feel that the water design is not for you, there are countless other options out there.

Thanks for visiting!


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    • profile image

      marwoodsloan 3 years ago

      that's alsome

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 5 years ago from West Virginia

      Emeraldgreen21, thanks for taking the time to drop by. Yes, that is a cool tattoo. You can do a lot with water tattoos. Great example. Thanks for your time.

    • Emeraldgreen21 profile image

      Atell Rohlandt 5 years ago from South Africa

      Those tattoos are incredible! I especially like the one with the underwater scene (think it might be Atlantis) and the hammerhead sharks. Voted up and beautiful.

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 6 years ago from West Virginia

      Rosemay, thanks so much for dropping by. I know the feeling, I am rarely on the computer these days. I appreciate your time and friendship dear, always have. Thanks again and take care.

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 6 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      It is a while since I paid a visit. I was away for about a week and still struggling to catch up.

      Once again you have done a thorough job on research and the information.

      Most of these are quite bold tattoos, some are very pretty. I lot of them I would not have associated with water. That's why I popped into here I was intrigued as to what water tattoos were like

      A great job Ricky

      Voting up

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 6 years ago from West Virginia

      Thank you all for taking the time to drop by, vote, and all your continued support. All of you are dear to my heart and I thank you for everything through are time of need.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Love those colorful tattoos! Well done as always!

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Ricky, the colourful fish tattoo's are my favourite, I can see why water tattoo's represent peace, flowing water especially waterfalls are so peaceful and relaxing.

      Voting up and best wishes Lesley

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      These are really beautiful..I esp' liked the fish in the water...

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I've seen the second one before but didn't recognize it as a water tattoo. In fact, many of these would escape me as being water-based. Voting this Up and Beautiful.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 6 years ago from Shelton

      thelyricwriter this hub was thirst quenching ..LOL loved it man

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 6 years ago from California

      This was so interesting! And I loved seeing all of the pictures---