What does the swallow tattoo mean?

Many sailors tattoo the swallows because they believe that swallows will provide them with protection that will ensure their safety while they are on the sea. Many people who travel a lot, use their swallow tattoos to seek protection and safety while they are on the road.

What do swallow tattoos signify?

Swallow tattoos symbolize travel and freedom, as well as returning home. Once used by sailors to show sailing prowess, swallow tattoos now come in all shapes and sizes with a variety of designs and colors.

What does a swallow tattoo mean on a sailor?

5,000 nautical miles

A swallow �

Each swallow represents 5,000 nautical miles in a sailor’s career. The circumference of the earth is 21,639 nautical miles � about 4.16 swallows.

What is the spiritual meaning of a swallow?

Spiritually, swallows represent breaking out of your comfort zone to experience different things in life. Overall, the free-flying bird represents mindfulness and faithfulness, which people can bring into their spiritual relationships with higher beings and into their commitment to family and loved ones.

What does a black swallow tattoo mean?

The swallow tattoo was traditionally a symbol that a sailor had returned home safely after a successful voyage. But it can also be a symbol that someone has spent time in prison. The tattoo is supposed to mean that you have “done your bird, done your time”.

What does 3 swallows mean?

The presence of two swallows might well be a sign of preliminary nesting behaviour. The presence of three, or 17, suggests that they mean business.

What does a sparrow tattoo mean Navy?

5. Swallows. Sailors earn a new swallow tattoo for every 5,000 nautical miles traveled, which is about 5,754 regular miles, roughly the distance between New York City and Tel Aviv. The circumference of the earth is 21,639 nautical miles, just about 4.16 sparrows.

What does a sinking ship tattoo mean?

Also known as the ‘sailors grave’ a sinking ship tattoo symbolizes the perils and dangers of life at sea. Similarly sinking ship tattoos have a long tradition of use as a sailor memorial and a commemorative symbol for those lost at sea.

Where do sailors get swallow tattoos?


A swallow also became a mark of experience. It was traditionally tattooed on the chest for every 5,000 nautical miles that a sailor had travelled. These journeys were riddled with hardships, starvation, sickness, and death, and so the more swallows the sailor had on his chest, the more experienced and respected he was.

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