Nautical themes are a large part of the traditional style of tattooing. Within that nautical realm you’ll find anchors, compasses, mermaids, sharks, and ships. It’s the latter we want to draw attention too.

The ships you commonly see represented as tattoos are galleons. These were large, multi-decked sailing ships developed by the Spaniards in the 1600s. The vessels were used for exploration, trade, and warfare during the “Age of Sail”. The Age of the Sail references a period from around 1570 to approximately 1860. During and after the period some of the world’s greatest maritime painters used galleons as their primary subject matter. It didn’t take long for North America’s earliest tattooists to follow suit. To this. day ship tattoos are one of the most sought after designs. You’re on board with this idea as well, which is why you’re searching for where to get a ship tattoo in the Greater Vancouver BC area. However, instead of the traditional genre which features bold black lines with limited shading, you want something more realistic. This makes placement particularly important as it must flow with the counters of your physique to make the work make sense. To help provide inspiration regarding placement we have shared images from Sleight of Hand Tattoo and SOH tattooist Instagram profiles. Have a look below and schedule your appointment accordingly.


Inner Forearm

If you want to admire your body art at all times, get the nautical scene done on the entirety of your inner forearm. This work shared a while back is visually striking:


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A post shared by soh_vancouver (@soh_vancouver)

Outer Forearm

The inner forearm is cool (above) but if you want your realistic ship tattoo on display for all to see, consider the entire outer forearm, such as this one done at our downtown Vancouver studio:


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A post shared by Alcantar Tattoo (

Shin Ships

The back of the calf muscle is a fairly common option, although you never get to see it unless you strike an awkward pose in front of the mirror. Instead, consider the full area from the bottom of your shin through to just below the knee. Admittedly, it’s a little more painful as the layer of skin is quite thin but the end result makes it all worthwhile. The owner of this piece completed at SOH Tattoo can certainly attest to that:


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Outer Upper-Arm to Shoulder

The expansive area that runs from above the elbow and encompasses the outer arm and expands to cover the full lateral deltoid is ideal for a design as impactful as this Viking galleon ship (courtesy of SOH tattooist Myles)


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A post shared by MYLESTONE (@_mylestone_)

We hope that you found placement inspiration via the examples above. Of course, there is nary part of the body that is off limits when it comes to this nautical subject matter. Feel free to reach out with any questions you have or email/call to schedule your appointment today.


CALL: 604.336.9177


Written By:

Sleight of Hand

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