A pirate ship tattoo often symbolizes the desire to live a free life, even in the face of adversity. The depiction of a pirate ship is used because pirates are known for living lives of freedom without regard to the law or the danger of the seas.
Many pirate ship tattoos are large with intricate details. If a pirate ship is waving a skull-and-crossbones flag, which is known as a "Jolly Roger," this may symbolize the desire for others to "surrender without a fight." Fans of "Pirates of the Caribbean" may also sport a pirate ship tattoo in honor of the movie.