Ships and Sea Life Tattoos

Updated on January 21, 2016

Ocean Tattoos

While I usually enjoy targeting a certain theme when writing on tattoos, I got motivated to present a variety of tattoos related to oceans, ships and sea life in general.

Sometimes looking at a variety of tattoo designs can trigger ideas that can be brought together to give a design you never thought of.

So with that in mind, and just enjoying a bunch of tattoos related to the seas, let's look at ocean themes holding that thought.

Personally, I usually will always prefer black and dark brown tattoos, as they seem to work far better than tattoos with a lot of color in them, although there are obviously some exceptions to that.

With the clipper ship tattoo below, the design was really done well, and if it wasn't for the color, which to me really does take away from this particular tattoo, I would have really liked it.

The ship's sails are particularly nicely done, and if they had been in dark colors and shade rather than the purple, they would have been extraordinary. I still like them, but they lost something with the color. Otherwise it's a great tattoo design.

Clipper Ship Arm Tattoo

Giant Squid Tattoo Attacking Ship

This tattoo is really a busy one, and probably has too much stuff in it to really appreciate the work.

Even so, each person has their own tastes, so if they like it that's all that really matters.

But the theme is a great one, and the attack of the giant squid ripping apart the ship is pretty cool. I do wonder what the inspiration behind the tattoo was, as when I see ones like this it's hard to tell what the motivation was, other than something they found at the moment looking over tattoo designs they like.

Tattoo of Giant Squid Attacking Fish

Leg tattoo with ship

This tattoo is really nice, and it fits my personal preference for darker colors, which I think you can see in this case, really defines the ship and allows you to see and enjoy it in a different way that the tattoos with a lot of color in them.

I really love the hull of the ship and its dark look, as well as the detail of the sails of the boat.


Ship tattoo on leg

Good ship tattoo

This is overall a nice tattoo to me, but there is always something about adding that bright, blue water to a ship tattoo that seems to make it unreal.

But one unique thing I really liked was that red background peeking through the ship's mast. It adds something that isn't too common, and it works well for me.

Ship Tattoo

Decent Ship Tattoo

This particular ship tattoo had great promise, but under delivers in that it just doesn't have the type of detail a great tattoo should have, especially a ship theme which gives tremendous opportunity to experiment with detail.

Now the color is right for me, but again, it's almost like it was wasted, and it makes you want to like it, but no matter how hard you try, it gives you the feel of being cartoonish, rather than more realistic and compelling.

Almost with this one, but not quite.

Ship sailing tattoo

Half Sleeve Ship Tattoo

What is really interesting to me with this ship tattoo, is it's not the ship that makes it work, but the stormy background and waves hitting its front.

This is the types of waves I like to see in a tattoo, rather than the bluish type that never seem to work very well, and are much too loud for my tastes.

But the best of this tattoo are those dark and foreboding clouds that promise this is going to be a rough ride.

While I don't know if the tattoo designer and artist did this on purpose, it's brilliant in that it takes you away from the ship and brings you into the dangerous environment.

Anchor Ship Tattoo

Occasionally a tattoo comes around that always contradicts my usual tastes, and this is one of them.

In spite of the bright colors, there's something about that anchor and the added elements that make this work. But to me, it's the anchor part of the tattoo that I really like, and it sets off the rest.

Ship and anchor tattoo

Jack Sparrow Pirate Tattoo

It doesn't get much better than this in tattoo quality, and the inclusion of the design it was drawn from is a great contrast and measurement of the quality.

The shadow, lines and dark color, make this a fantastic tattoo design of Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean.

There's only one thing I don't like about it, and that's the location chosen to put it. This great tattoo belonged on the arm or back where it could be seen in all its quality without the need to bend down and be at the back of the person to view and appreciate it.

Either way, Barnacle Bill gives a big thumb's up on this one.

Pirates of the Caribbean Tattoo - Jack Sparrow

Sea Turtle tattoo

You really have to imagine this sea turtle tattoo because it is really big, but difficult to capture that with a photo like this.

It goes all the way across the side of this women's body, and while simple, is well done and has nice colors.

The legs or arms are really done nicely, especially the dotted areas on the tips.

Sea Turtle tattoo on side of body

Good Shark Tattoo

I know I'm repeating myself, but I hate the bright blue water behind the shark, but really like the shark tattoo design itself.

The detail and design of the shark is phenomenal, and would have really been set off nicely if the background water would have been more dark and dangerous looking.

Shark Tattoo

Whale Tattoo

 I do like this whale tattoo, as the color is nice and it has a lot of potential. The problem to me, again, is the placement.

As you can see from the photo, they had to take two shots to be able to see and appreciate the whale tattoo.

This would have been a much better tattoo in a place where you could view it all at once. Placement is a big thing for any tattoo, and no matter how good the design, if the placement is wrong, the tattoo will never be what it could have been.

Whale Tattoo Photo

Killer Whale Tattoo

This obviously isn't a super great design, but one thing I did like about it was the feeling you were watching a water show with the killer whale jumping out and entertaining you.

If this is what the tattoo artist and designer were attempting to portray, they did a good job. And even if it was accidental, I still like it from that point of view.

Killer Whale Tattoo

Starfish, Angel Shark Tattoo

Here is another one of those exceptions where the color included in the tattoo design didn't turn be off, and actually was pretty nicely done.

While the starfish color is pretty loud, for some reason it doesn't take away from enjoying the art. I also like the green seaweed and blue colors, which added together - work.

The color sometimes can hide it, but the detail of the starfish and angel shark are really more difficult to do than it may look like.

The major problem it has is the placement, which again, doesn't allow you to see and enjoy the overall tattoo. But still a good one.

Starfish, Angel Shark Tattoo

Manta Ray Tattoo

Manta Rays aren't a very common tattoo, and so while these are a little light, and so somewhat difficult to see, it is nice to see manta rays tattooed, and they are done pretty well.

Manta Ray Tattoos

Very Nice Scallop Tattoo

The apparent simplicity of this scallop tattoo design could make you think this was an easy tattoo to design and make, but look closely at the design and intricacy of the detail, and you can see that a very skillful tattoo artist did this tattoo, and it was hard to do.

The dark color and shading is the way I prefer tattoos,  and it was done great here.

Scallop Tattoo

Sea Horse Tattoo

While I'm not thrilled with the color of this sea horse tattoo, the shading and detail was done very well, and the image nicely done.

Sea Horse Tattoo Photo

Shrimp Tattoo Design

Shrimp is also not a real common tattoo design, and I was glad to have found one of this high quality.

I was surprised at how well this was done, and it really has nice color and narrow, dark lines that really make it stand out nicely.

Marlin Tattoo

This final tattoo of a Marlin is also a very well done tattoo design, and it had the color, design and quality anyone would be glad to have inked on them.

The shadow and shading really was done well, and the dark lines at key points make it stand out witout being too intrusive or obvious. Great Tattoo.

Marlin Fish Tattoo

I hope you enjoyed the ocean, ships and sea life tattoos

Again, this is different than I usually do when pointing out tattoos, as I prefer to put them in themes where you can see them all together and related.

But in the case of this particular tattoo gallery of sea life, the ocean and ship tattoos, the theme is so vast, I thought including them in this type of variety, and with most of the variety of themes being familiar to most people (ok, not the angel shark), it would inspire some tattoo designs that you wouldn't have thought of before.

Questions & Answers


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • william.fischer29 profile image

        william.fischer29 6 years ago

        Ouch! Tattoos hurt!..Anyway, they are beautiful artworks. Nice hub.