What Does the Nautical Star Represent?


The nautical star tattoo usually indicates membership in the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps, though it is often worn by sailors of other nations as well. Its popularity and simplicity has led many people to get it as a tattoo even if they have no connection to the sea.

The five-pointed nautical star is striped in two colors as a reference to the compass rose found on maps, nautical charts and compasses. Compass stars usually have four or eight points (for the four cardinal directions as well as the "intermediate" directions, such as north-northwest), but the nautical star has five points in order to match the stars on the U.S. flag.