160+ Anchor Tattoo Designs That Signify Stability

One way to show off how much you love sailing at sea or sea life is by getting some anchor tattoos. These tattoos have been around for so many years. People have gotten different variants of these tattoos because artists have been so creative with them.

If you watched Popeye while younger, you’d remember that even he had an anchor tattoo. In fact, the first time most of us saw this kind of tattoo was on that cartoon. These tattoos are no longer that simple, designs have become really advanced.

It began as a trend with sailors, divers, and fishermen but has quickly gained popularity among other people like the US Navy and Christians. Christianity has a strong link to anchor tattoos, many Christians saw it as a way of concealing a cross in their tattoos. It also represented the struggle against the Romans.

You can find your own meaning to these tattoos and we have brought a couple of design ideas to choose from.


What do Anchor Tattoos mean?

We have already told you that these tattoos have existed for several centuries. Over time, people have come up with several meanings for these tattoos. To date, you find a tattoo that should have meant something else, bearing a different meaning to the wearer.

Those days, people viewed anchor tattoos in a religious light while others saw it as a way to express love for their profession. When you think about it closely, the closest meaning attached to anchor tattoos is stability.

This should be easy to understand, especially when you consider the use of an anchor on a ship. The anchor is used to keep the ship stable on a location despite the raging waves that beat against it. Bringing it to our daily lives, it relates to being stable in the midst of turmoil.

We all go through rough patches at some points in our lives. One of the ways to be strong and unshakable despite the challenges is finding an anchor. Not a literal anchor, a person to talk to or an object of inspiration.

There’s a little twist to the stability interpretation though. While it is a great thing to be stable, you will notice that a ship that has been anchored stays on the same spot. This means there is no forward movement or any form of progress.

This simply means a fellow could be stuck in one position or stagnated without any development whatsoever. Another negative implication of anchors is sticking with the past rather than moving on to the present and the future. Without letting go of the past, one cannot make use of today to create a better future.

Also See: 151+ Watercolor Tattoo Ideas to Make You Stand Out

Best Anchor Tattoo Ideas

Colorful anchor tattoo

This is one colorful way of expressing your love for the sea. It oozes femininity and elegance and the placement is just perfect.

Owl and anchor couple tattoos

One characteristic that couple tattoos bear is that when they are separate, they are never complete. These tattoos have an owl on one hand and an anchor with some text on the other. Both tattoos are equally colorful which makes them look really attractive.

Numbers and anchor tattoo design

Numbers can be a code for some really important message. The numbers in this tattoo must carry some deep meaning to the wearer. Even though we are not sure what they mean, they accentuate the beauty of the tattoo.

Bright flowers anchor tattoo

Bright flowers symbolize life and love. The way these flowers cover most of this tattoo shows the wearer has hope for a new life. It is a really colorful and elegant design, perfect for a young lady.

Faded anchor tattoo

The fading illusion created by the artist is a touch of real creativity and it is definitely worth the pain and money spent. This elegant tattoo is quite large, covering almost the whole lower arm. The design is really attractive and worth trying.

Anchor on pinky tattoo

This a very good replacement for a ring. Its placement on the pinky probably means it is an expression of a promise to a loved one. The black color makes it look like a tribal tattoo but it bears a dynamic look that fits the wearer perfectly.

Black and white belly tattoo

This tattoo is drawn in two colors, black and white, making it look really classy. Different parts of the tattoo are shaded differently to create contrast which matches the skin tone. It is an all-round lovely tattoo.

Traditional anchor tattoo with roses

When the traditional coloring is used, the tattoo looks like an actual anchor, it becomes realistic. A few roses are attached to this tattoo to make it more beautiful while creating a cool contrast. This is a cool tattoo to try if you want a traditional anchor on your hand.

Minimalist anchor tattoo

How small can a tattoo be? This is really small but very cute. It is placed on the ankle where it stands out perfectly. Though very tiny, it is a very cool attraction when wearing slippers or running shoes.

Arrow, heart, and anchor tattoo

This is a beautiful female tattoo that is placed on the belly. It is made up of several elements, a heart, an arrow, and an arrow. The arrow seems like a wind vane helping the wearer know the direction of the wind and it passes through the heart. It shows stability and direction.

Anchor with rope and barrel tattoo

This tattoo is definitely masculine because of its size. It sits attractively behind the calf and the colors make it really appealing. This is definitely a great inspiration if you want something really bold.

Falling apart anchor tattoo

This anchor seems to be falling apart. It looks so simple yet brings to mind strong creativity. The pieces falling off resemble birds that are flying away.

Anchor and red roses

Red roses speak of love while an anchor depicts hope and stability. This tattoo is definitely a great idea to show your lover that you are ready to go all the way. It shows how stable you consider the love you share and how much hope you hold for the future or your relationship.

Anchor tattoo with some text

You could add some text to give your tattoo a vivid meaning. This is a very simple tattoo that bears a lot of detail. The placement at the middle of the arm means the wearer is skeptical about showing it off at some places like the office. You can add some text of your choice, not necessarily “hope.”

Anchor on foot tattoo

This is one of the most comfortable spots to place a tattoo. Not to lie, it must have been a painful process but the aftermath is definitely worth the trouble. You can cover this tattoo with your shoes or socks anytime you like.

Silver inner arm anchor tattoo

This tattoo looks silvery in color even though it is actually shades of black, grey, and white. It is fairly large and it sits on the inner part of the arm. It is quite detailed and obviously masculine because of the color. The placement is perfect for a person who works at a 9 to 5 office and needs to hide the tattoo during work hours.

Little anchor tattoo on the heel

This little tattoo sits just below the ankle towards the heel. It is so small, it is probably not going to catch any attention except you show it to someone. Though it is small, it is definitely carrying a message. We probably have to ask the wearer about that.

Rope and anchor tattoo on neck

This tattoo speaks volumes about the wearer. She must have a strong relationship with someone in the US Navy or Marine Corps. Else she is just in love with the force. The tattoo can be hidden simply by letting her hair down. It is a very attractive black and white tattoo that will sit well for both sexes.

Small tribal anchor tattoo on the index finger

Tattoo designs on fingers always look cool, one could mistake them for rings, just like the one in this image. The tattoo bears the characteristic black color of tribal tattoos and it is very simple with little detail. The lady is obviously not scared of showing it off and you shouldn’t too.

King and Queen Anchor tattoos

These tattoos will be incomplete away from each other, the perfect couple tattoos. Both tattoos are drawn in black and white and shades of grey. They bear a lot of detail, especially with the crowns. Each tattoo has a little signature underneath, probably one that the couple recognizes as special. You could try this out with your partner, that’s if you both are sure you want to go all the way.

Red roses and anchor with horizon

This tattoo speaks volumes considering the different elements. The red roses are synonymous with love and the horizon speaks of a new day. If we were to wrap it up, we would say the love the person has is stable and is expected to lead to a new day.

Other Anchor Tattoo Design Ideas

Types of Anchor Tattoos

These days, these tattoos signify hope above all fear and anxiety. We have moved past them being used by just sailors or fishermen. So many people have anchor tattoos these days and they look really cool. These different variations mean different things so let’s take a look at the different types of anchor tattoos and their meanings.

Navy Anchor Tattoos

A lot of officers serving with the United States Navy have these tattoos somewhere on their bodies. Many others who have loved ones serving with the navy also have these tattoos. It speaks volumes about their love for the US Navy and their loyalty as well.

Most times, you’ll see the initials U.S.N. which translate to US Navy or simply the word NAVY attached to these tattoos. As a way of showing patriotism, some people even have the tattoo drawn in the American Flag colors.

Tribal Anchor Tattoos

This is another anchor-inspired tattoo that has existed for a very long time. One characteristic that is common to tribal tattoos is the predominant black color and the lines used. The design can be a simple tribal tattoo or in some cases, it may come with more details.

It usually depends on what the person wants or how inspired the tattoo artist is. One of the best means of gaining inspiration for these tattoos is the culture or location related to the wearer.

Anchor Heart Tattoos

If you are looking for an anchor tattoo that is romantic or symbolizes sacrifice, this is definitely what you want. It does not just speak of love and romance, it speaks of compassion. Most of them have an anchor piercing a heart shape at the middle. To most people, it is a way of expressing how much they are willing to sacrifice for love.

Rope and Anchor Tattoos

This is another very famous variant of these tattoos. The US Navy adopted this symbol. Prior to this, it used to be the emblem wielded as a family seal by Lord Howard of Effingham. It is no longer strange to see so many naval officers show off this tattoo when you know the origin.

Globe + Eagle Anchor Tattoos

This is actually the current emblem of the United States Marine Corps. The tattoo has three independent elements which are the globe, the eagle, and the anchor. The first symbolizes North and South America, but it also implies an individual’s willingness to serve worldwide. The Eagle is the official bird of the US, while the anchor is the honor of the US Marine Corps.

Preparing to get your Anchor Tattoo

The first step to take in getting an anchor tattoo, or any tattoo, in fact, is not going to the tattoo studio, it is having a design in mind. Many people make the mistake of going to the studio to get a tattoo with a completely blank mind. Most times they end up regretting their action in the not too distant future.

With a design in mind, you reduce the deliberations at the studio and you can cut to the chase and get the process done quickly. You should be sure the design you pick matches your personality and skin color. It should sit perfectly on the location you desire to place it as well.

If this is your first tattoo, you should speak with the artist to give you advice on what may work well for your skin tone. Speak concerning the design, if possible, bring a sketch of your predetermined design so you artist can look at it and come up with something cool.

Ensure that you eat well and take a lot of water before going for your appointment. Alcohol is not a good idea if you want to get hydrated as it makes your blood thinner which could make the process messy. Another reason why you should stay away from alcohol at this time is that it makes you more susceptible to pain.

Depending on how large or complex your tattoo will be, you might spend hours or even require multiple sessions so wear something comfortable. You should get enough rest too, sleep well before your appointment.

Ensure that you show up on time for your appointment, you don’t want to waste the time of your artist. Finally, ensure that you are mentally and physically prepared for the process.

Best Placement for your Anchor Tattoos

Without any extra effort, anchor tattoos still look attractive. To make them stand out and pass the exact message you want, you need to place them in the right location. Males and females have different preferences with respect to tattoo placement.

One major bone of contention after choosing your tattoo design is always where the tattoo will be placed. This shouldn’t be a problem if you are sure of what message you plan to pass. You just need to place the tattoo where it passes the message the most.

Most women see the back of the ears or somewhere around the neck as the ideal location to place their anchor tats. This is a great choice if you are getting your first tattoo or you don’t want to expose it so much to the world. You can always cover the tattoo whenever you decide to, especially for work-related purposes.

The back is also another location you should consider, especially when you want a large tattoo. Just below the shoulders will work perfectly. By the way, it is a great spot for your artist to express his creativity with your tattoo.

If you like to wear sleeveless tops or go to the beach often, then you might want the tattoo on your upper arm. They give more emphasis and make the tattoo more attractive. It all boils down to confidence and personal desire. You can place your tattoo anywhere you desire.

Factors to consider when getting an Anchor Tattoo

By now you should know this, you need to consider several factors before choosing an anchor tattoo, or any other tattoo. It should never be on impulse or because you just feel like doing something different. If it is, you can be sure you’ll regret it very soon, because might not even like the design.

You should consider the artist that will work on your tattoo. Some artists are quite cheap and the regular thing will be to go for those ones. However, in this business, it is not always good to go for cheap. Most times they lack skill or experience, or both. Find someone with a portfolio that can help you achieve the design you want without messing things up.

Find out about the price of your tattoo. Each artist has a specific price, while tattoo parlors have theirs also. The price should be something you are comfortable with else, you either wait till you can afford it or go for something cheaper.

Gain some knowledge about preparation tips and aftercare measures. Be sure you can keep up with these so you don’t get to regret your actions afterward. Check the tattoo studio to be sure you are comfortable there. If you are not comfortable in that environment, you won’t find it fun getting a tattoo there, it’s that simple.

Be sure that your artist sterilizes his needles and other equipment and takes precautions to keep you safe before, during, and after the process. You should the best location for your tattoo regardless of the size. Ensure it is at a location you’d be comfortable with for as long as you live.

Aftercare maintenance tips

Getting the tattoo done and placing it right is important. However, one thing is more important, taking care of the tattoo after the inking process. Your tattoo has turned out beautifully but you must endeavor it remains that way.

Definitely, it is going to hurt for a while, after all, a tattoo is a wound. What you do will determine how fast it will heal and whether or not it will get infected. You should follow the aftercare instructions provided by your tattoo artist.

It is possible that some moisturizers and other aftercare products will be recommended, ensure that you get these and apply them accordingly. Keep your tattoo from being soaked in water till it is healed. This means no swimming or sitting in the Jacuzzi.

As much as possible, keep the tattoo away from the sun because of UV rays. If you have to go out in the sun, cover the tattoo or use some quality sunscreen lotion. Ultimately, keep the surface of your tattoo clean and avoid any temptation to scratch the surface.

Anchor Tattoos Wrap Up

Anchor tattoos bear a lot of messages and you can choose from an amazing array of designs. Share your testimonies about these tattoos

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