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Jolly Roger
The Jolly Roger, a flag displaying a skull and crossbones along with its several variations, was designed and used by pirates for scaring their victims into surrendering without daring to put up a fight. Though this symbol has come to be associated with all pirates today, very few pirates actually did use it, and instead resorted to using plain black flags.
While tattoos may have become a style statement today, there was a time when they signified something entirely different, and were worn only by select groups of people. One of these were the criminals who wore tattoos which represented their allegiance to the particular group that they belonged to. The other were the sailors who usually inked them to symbolize the hard and dangerous life that they led at sea.

Pirates, who were criminal sailors, led lives that closely resembled that of both these groups. Today, with epic movies such as 'Pirates of the Caribbean' and immortal characters like 'Captain Jack Sparrow' played by Johnny Depp, pirates have come to symbolize cool, and the pirate life - a symbol of danger, adventure, and intrigue, has come in vogue. Hence, even though the idea of jumping on a pirate ship to plunder the seas is clearly against good sense and judgment, getting a pirate tattoo is certainly appealing.

In the following sections, we present some cool pirate ship tattoo design ideas, designed to fill your heart with excitement and thrill, and make you go 'Aarrrgggg!!!' with amazement.

Pirate Ship Tattoo Designs

Basic Pirate Ship
Basic Pirate Ship

The basic pirate ship tattoo is typically made in black ink. It displays a pirate ship, and importantly, the Jolly Roger symbol. The ship can be sketched showing a lot of fine details, and the symbol can be displayed either as a flag on top of a mast, or on one of the ship's sails.

Pirate Ship Message
Pirate Ship Message

In this type of design, along with the pirate ship and associated symbols, the wearer can flaunt a quote or a message on the tattoo. While this message can be anything that is close one's heart, it is a good idea to use one that relates to the sea, ship, and/or pirate life.

Pirate Ship Compass Rose
Pirate Ship Compass Rose

This tattoo is a combination of two popular designs - pirate ship and compass rose. It can be made using any color, and can include a message as well. Again, using a message that is related to 'adventure' symbolized by the pirate ship design, as well as 'directions' symbolized by the compass rose design, will obviously make it more appealing and apt.

Pirate Ship Abstract Design
Pirate Ship Abstract Design

In the abstract design, along with the pirate ship, one can creatively integrate two or more elements associated with pirates and the pirate-life within the tattoo. These can include the Jolly Roger, guns, eye-patches, or even a small outline of the famous Jack Sparrow!

Ghostly Pirate Ship
Ghostly Pirate Ship

This is another example of how, by combining two great tattoo designs creatively, one can come up with a unique concept. In this tattoo, a creepy pirate ship design can be created by adding ghostly and other paranormal elements and attributes to it. For a great effect, one can prominently incorporate the skull, which is part of the Jolly Roger, to impart eeriness to the design.

Pirate Ship and Octopus
Pirate Ship and Octopus

This design brings to fore the elements of danger and adventure, which are a part of pirate life. It typically involves a pirate ship being attacked by or attacking a sea monster, such as an octopus or maybe a killer whale.

Pirate Ship and Treasure
Pirate Ship and Treasure

Apart from looting and plundering, pirates are always on the quest for discovering hidden treasures. As such, a tattoo design comprising a pirate ship, the sea, and an island with a treasure chest on it can be a perfect design choice.

Pirate Ship on a Map
Pirate Ship on a Map

Building on the concept of hidden treasures, a creative design idea would be to show a map of an island with an 'X' mark on it representing the location of the buried treasure. A small pirate ship can be shown on it, along with the dotted trail leading to the treasure.

Pirate Ship on a Scroll
Pirate Ship on a Scroll

A long tattoo displaying a scroll and a pirate ship illustrated upon it can be a good design for the arms or legs. You can even consider inscribing a few lines pertaining to pirate life on the scroll.

Pirate Ship and the Sunset
Pirate Ship and the Sunset

This design can include an elaborately designed scenery to give it an artsy effect. One could choose to have the pirate ship inked on the scene of a sunset or sunrise, with the waters shining in orange or golden, making it a beautiful and visually stunning design. Such a tattoo is best worn on the back.

Japanese Pirate Ship
Japanese Pirate Ship

For those of you who are enthralled by oriental art, you can have a design that incorporates the typical curvy Japanese drawing style. It can display a pirate ship, swirling clouds and waves, birds, etc. As a creative touch, it can also include a red sun which symbolizes Japan - the land of the rising sun.

Tribal Pirate Ship
Tribal Pirate Ship

A pirate ship can also be inked in a tribal style, giving it a minimalist, yet unique appeal. Tribal tattoos are usually made in black ink, and allow the designer to make a strong design-statement by using elaborate lines and curves.

Points to be Remembered

Choosing the Right Location
Most of these tattoo designs require ample space. Therefore, the arms or the back are the best places to sport them. Guys can also get this done on their chests.

Choosing the Right Parlor
Care should be taken that you go to a proper tattoo parlor which maintains hygienic conditions, uses clean and sterile instruments, and has professional designers.

As adverted above, these tattoos are big and make use of plenty of colors which are dark. Because of all this, the removal process would be really tough, and one may have to go through a lot of pain. The procedure varies according to the kind of tattoo; there is a different procedure for permanent, semi-permanent tattoos, etc. Therefore, before getting inked, make sure that you definitely want it, and remember to properly choose the design that you like the best.