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Old 10-01-2006, 01:59   #1
Loc_Dog
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Old Sailor Sayings --> Sailor Tattoos

I've noticed some of the old sailors have small green/blue dots tattooed (?tricky spelling)at the base of their thumb. What does it mean?

Other sailor tattoos?
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Old 10-01-2006, 04:46   #2
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Maybe its just tricky dotting,Only kidding I have no clue,just couldnt resist
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Old 10-01-2006, 14:10   #3
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There are a few traditional sailor's tattoos, but dots on the thumbs I've never heard of. If I was to guess, I say they probably stabbed themselves with their pencils - navigator hazard.

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Old 10-01-2006, 14:57   #4
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It was (maybe still is) illegal for sailor to have tattoo below the wrist, so small ones at thumb and the like were acts of defiance.

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Old 10-01-2006, 14:58   #5
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sailors meaning US Navy and CG
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Old 10-01-2006, 16:09   #6
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no, not on the thumb itself, but on the forehand, between the thumb and the index finger. Maybe its not right to describe them as dots.. more like the size of peas or something..
Always thougt it was one dot for "surviving each Cape" or something like that. Like a milestone at sea.. anyone?
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Old 10-01-2006, 16:32   #7
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My step father-in-law ( there's a title ) has tiny star right in the crook between thumb and index - that's his story - kinda hidden, but still "illegal".

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Old 10-01-2006, 19:44   #8
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I thought you got to tattoo your earlobes for the capes - maybe different services have different traditions
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Old 10-01-2006, 19:49   #9
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Three Dots - This form of tattoo is mostly associated with gang membership and is done on the hand between the forefinger and thumb.

http://www.tao-of-tattoos.com/tattoo-symbols-3.html



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Old 10-01-2006, 19:55   #10
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That link has some great info on origins of tats. For marine tats, try this one
http://www.faqfarm.com/Q/What_were_t...rs_got_and_why[/url]

As for the dots, I have seen them as prison tats, and they have specific meaning there, but never as maritime tats. Maybe they were on a sailor who served time. (just guessing)
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Old 10-01-2006, 20:39   #11
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Could also mean Prsion time perhaps. We in NZ get see similar ones on ex inmates. Usually on the forhand at the base of a finger. I think it's a dot for each year or each conviction or somehting, I dunno exactly. Next time I see a 6'6" Mongrel Mob ex-con fresh out of inside, I 'll ask.
Hey you!!, yeah you, the big ugly one that looks like ya mother dressed ya funny.
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Old 10-01-2006, 21:32   #12
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Old 10-01-2006, 23:01   #13
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I know of people with a three-dot tattoo between the thumb and forefinger. It signifies "mi vida loca" (my crazy life) and is associated with gang affiliation. Here's a link"
http://www.shutitdown.net/gangtattoos
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Old 10-01-2006, 23:18   #14
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I personelly know some people who I grew up with that had the tattooed cross, with the streak lines running upwards. And the other tattoo with the three dots.

Were I grew up back in California. It's really quite common with Hispanic street gang members to have these kinds of tattoos. And most of my friends, or friend of a friend were gangsters.
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Old 11-01-2006, 07:41   #15
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Tattooing has been associated with the seafaring life of the navy for centuries. This tradition began in the 1700s when Captain Cook discovered the tattooed natives of the South Pacific. Cook's sailors were looking for the perfect memento of their journey into foreign lands, and a tattoo was the most exotic souvenir they could bring home.
A Sailor without a tattoo is like a ship without grog: not seaworthy.
The United States Government issued a recruiting circular in 1909, which stated, “Indecent or obscene tattooing is cause for rejection, the applicant should be given an opportunity to alter the design, in which event he may, if otherwise qualified, be accepted.
In the 1940s this obscure ruling caused one of the biggest booms the tattoo trade had known in years. From far and wide, eligible young men were flocking to their favorite
needlers with demands for lingerie, skirts, brassieres, fans, bubbles, flowers, butterflies, almost anything that would cover up a bare spot.
Some meanings of sailor designs;
HOLD on the knuckles of one hand and FAST, on the other. This is said to help the seaman to better hold the riggings.
A PIG, on the top of one foot and a ROOSTER, on the other. This is said to protect the seaman from drowning, because both of these barnyard animals cannot swim so they would get the seaman quickly to shore.
An ANCHOR showed the seaman had sailed the Atlantic Ocean.
A FULL-RIGGED SHIP showed the seaman had sailed around Cape Horn.
A DRAGON showed the seaman had served on a China station.
A SHELLBACK TURTLE denotes a seaman who has crossed the equator.
A GOLDEN DRAGON denotes a seaman who has crossed the International Date Line.
ROPE tattooed around the wrist meant the seaman was a deckhand.
Miss Eleanor Barnes of the Seaman's Institute once remarked,
“Some people pour out their colorful stories to juries. Others relieve the tension by writing for the confession magazines. The sailor enlists the tattooers needle upon
his own body in dull blues, vivid reds, greens and yellows to record the story of his loves and hates, his triumphs, his religion, and his patriotism.”

These days with many famous, high profile people in music and sports sporting tattoos, they have become more socially acceptable in the USA, as a widely appealing cultural, artistic and social form.
But at present, I understand that those with tattoos covering over 25% of an exposed limb, are not welcomed by the CG, and it appears the army and navy are soon to follow.
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