HOLD FAST Tattoo history

Posted by Hold Fast on


HOLD FAST Classic tattoo

HOLD FAST tattoos have been very popular for sailors for many years.

Old sailors/mariners believed the "HOLD FAST" tattoo on their knuckles kept evil forces away from them. For the history of the term "HOLD FAST" please read our article covering that here. The sailors thought that those letters on their knuckles would bring them luck while they are gripping the lines and riggings during storms. Other sailors depend on them to hold the line no matter what. If they would let the line go it would let the entire ship down. Sailors have many superstitions and had ceremonies for every rite of passage. If a tattoo could possibly give them an advantage to survive their dangerous job then why not. 

Although the words "HOLD FAST" on the knuckles was the traditional way to get the tattoo, many people have taken that nautical tattoo and placed it all over their body. The term HOLD FAST is a term many people can relate to. Below are a few examples from our Pinterest board titled "HOLD FAST TATTOO EXAMPLES"


HOLD FAST Knuckles:

HOLD FAST Knuckles tattoo

HOLD FAST tattoo with clean font

HOLD FAST Tattoo cool font

HOLD FAST tattoo on the physical knuckles

HOLD FAST tattoo with an anchor instead of the O

HOLD FAST chest tattoos:

HOLD FAST chest tattoo with skulls

HOLD FAST tattoo with crest

HOLD FAST tattoo on the chest text only

 IF YOU are not ready for a tattoo there ia always our cool T-Shirts that you can wear.

Click on image to buy t-Shirt

Hold Fast Brand Tshirt

HOLD FAST brand military tshirt HOLD FAST brand T-shirt hero grayHOLD FAST brand American Tshirts

SHOP HERE for our HOLD FAST T-Shirts


The Art of Tattooing is an inconceivably old type of workmanship and self-articulation. From the most punctual period of wind powered ships, mariners voyaging more remote and more distant abroad had started to experience indigenous individuals who had inked themselves for a considerable length of time. Mariners regularly got inked themselves as a type of gift, to demonstrate where they had been. Indeed, even today, mariners have a tendency to be to some degree superstitious, and for the most part extremely mindful of imagery. Tattoos are a most close method for partner an image (and going with importance) with yourself.

 Lot’s of "conventional" tattoos have their underlying foundations in the history and traditions of mariners. The "hold fast" or “STAY TRUE” tattoo I have is to a great degree conventional. It has since been embraced by other inking subcultures, yet the first plan was to keep mariner's hands from slipping on lines, or to anchor yourself to the riggin' when working up high in climate. To numerous mariner society, the significance of "hold fast" is clear enough, yet those whose ear's aren't prepared to it, it may sound an inconsistency.

 On a ship, a line (a rope to you land lovers) is "fast" when it is solidly and emphatically anchored. In conventional cruising vernacular, many line-and sail-dealing with directions have been reached out to incorporate people also. To "belay" a line is to anchor it with a progression of turns (wraps) around a fitting, stick, bit, or kevel, preventing it from further movement. In like manner, to get out "Belay that!" may very well too apply to a man doing some bothersome action, or to prevent a past request from being completed.

 Numerous other conventional mariner tattoos have their causes in superstition. One awesome model is the match of tattoos of a pig on one foot, and a chicken on the other. The suggestion is that both these creatures fear water, and that they will shield a mariner's feet from sinking into the profundities, speeding them back to arrive all the sooner. The universal nautical star is differently illustrative of the polar star itself, or of the compass card; both are to enable the mariner to discover (and keep) their direction.

Other mariner tattoos are festivities of specific turning points. A fouled stay on the lower arm implies that the mariner has crossed the Atlantic. Little blue stars on the hands imply trips made around Cape Horn. I have perused references to turtle tattoos for the individuals who have cruised over the Equator. I additionally appear to review something about those conventional swallow tattoos on the shoulders being markers to demonstrate the intersection of the Tropics Of Cancer and Capricorn.

I every so often experience individuals with these tattoos who have little thought of their social and authentic noteworthiness. I generally set aside a little opportunity to attempt and disclose it to them, as I feel that cruising conventions are critical to every one of us. Having my hands inked makes me a touch of a representative, I presume. My very own tattoo craftsman felt extremely special to have the capacity to "put a genuine mariner tattoo on a genuine mariner".






If you have children please check out our friends site at www.bornintheusababy.com where they sell only American Made Baby and Kids Gear. 

Share this post

Newer Post →