Swallow tattoos symbolize a safe return home and are closely associated with the sailors. The meaning comes from sailors seeing swallows as a sign that they are close to land.
Among the yonder sailors, a swallow tattoo was a symbol of experience, and one was inked on his or her chest every 5000 nautical miles of sailing. Feats of strength represented by swallow tattoos included sailing the seven seas, rounding the horn of Africa and South America, and crossing the equator. Other meanings of swallow tattoos include true love and loyalty, overcoming of an obstacle, having fast fists, and a sailor that has been to prison.