130 Delightful Lighthouse Tattoos – Keep Making Your Way

From rocky coastlines and reefs to hazardous shoals, lighthouses have long been used as visible guides for ships at sea. Starting with the Alexandrian Pharos to more familiar lighthouses, the symbol has now come to be known for various meanings.

Today, you can get a lighthouse tattoo – which has long been a favorite among sailors, fishermen, and communities living close to oceans and seas. As such, they are not common among non-seafaring folk – which is why you might want to get one if you are to stand out in the tattoo community.

Read on to learn more about this tattoo, its history, meanings, and placement ideas:


Meaning of Lighthouse

Originally, the lighthouse was established for the primary purpose of warning sea travelers about the proximity of a rocky coast. This guiding light or warning has been helping passersby in two main ways:

– They get to know that rocky shores are coming up ahead

– The light also suggests that the ship or sea vessel is approaching the coast, which implies that the passersby are not lost

To this end, the symbolism achieved by a tattoo with a lighthouse is quite similar to the above meanings. As such, such a tattoo represents faith, inspiration, and positivity for the wielder. It also shows that the tattoo acts as a light that guides them to their true home.

These types of tattoos are unique, especially in the sense that they not only come in cool designs, they can also be customized. This means that you can get additional elements to accompany your lighthouse, including but not limited to inspirational quotes, scrolls, birds, waves, oceanic landscapes, and an anchor.

In most cases, these tattoos are usually medium to large sized. However, this does not necessarily mean that there are hard rules about how to get yours done. Still, lighthouse tattoos tend to look better when they are bigger. Of course, this would depend on your personal preferences as well as on the details of the design you choose.

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Lighthouses: a Short History

Before their actual invention, the first lighthouses were technical hilltop platforms with a roaring fire at the top. These structures were used to guide mariners towards a port. However, the design changed over time to include tall towers rising from the ground up, with beaming beacons of light created from blazing coal and wood. These newly designed structures improved visibility around coastlines.

In 1782 Aime Argand, a Swiss scientist, invented the famed Argand lamp with thorium dioxide to dangle over the flame in a lighthouse. To create the flame, lighthouse keepers used everything from vegetable oil and olive oil to colza and whale oil as the primary source of fuel.

However, it wasn’t until 1970 before Kerosene took center stage as the most popular choice for fueling the flames in most lighthouses across the globe. This was soon replaced by acetylene gas, which eventually gave way to an electric fire.

Not surprisingly, lighthouse keepers are virtually non-existent today. This is due to GPS technology (Global Position System) being used in many sea vessels. However, there are close to 50 staffed towers around Canada keeping this rich tradition alive.

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 Enter the Tattoos

With regards to the tattoo depicting this ancient structure, the lighthouse comes with a variety of meanings. Initially, people saw them as the archetypal public good because ships did not have to pay a dime to use them.

Others choose these types of tattoos because their symbolism depicts safety. As such, the design is taken to represent influence, truth, and protection. Of course, this meaning is more common among sailors and Mariners.

The advantage with picking such a tattoo lies in the fact that the tattooist can manipulate it into different shapes, colors, and sizes depending on what you prefer. This means that the design can take on as many new meanings as you would like.

The nature of the tattoo is entirely symbolic. Some meanings include, but are not limited to:

– Direction

– The correct path

– Destiny

– Home

Men, in particular, prefer these meanings especially when they are required to be away from home for a long while. As a man, your role is to protect your family and home. This means that you are highly likely to appreciate the provoking and profound nature of such a tattoo.

On the other hand, if you are watching over your loved ones, you might choose the tattoo as your preferred tattoo because it also symbolizes faith, hope, safety, protection, and guidance.

Whether you are a seaside dweller, a traveler, or a family man, this is one of the old school designs that are likely to call out to you like a foghorn. With it, you can show that you are the beacon of light in your life, and for all those who are dear to your heart.

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The tattoo is also peculiarly romantic, as acknowledged by most of those who have seen one and been drawn in by its inherent beauty. In particular, this is a type of romance that might be difficult to match with any other tattoo design.

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Best Placement Ideas

Before jumping into some ideas, you might want to know that the lighthouse is quite traditional for a tattoo. This is why it is not so common among many people with tattoos. However, it still holds a deep meaning that you are unlikely to derive from another design.

That said, from the small and simple designs on bulging arms to the classic scene of a ship using the beam of light as a guide while out on the sea, there are tons of ideas for these kinds of tattoos. Consider the following:

1. Emphasis on Light

When the lighthouse in your tattoo emphasizes light, the symbolism would be any or all of the following:

  • Guidance
  • Protection
  •  Hope
  • Faith

Lighthouses provide a sense of protection and safety to seafaring folk. As much as you might love the ocean and the high seas, your heart will always want to go back home – which is on land.

Therefore, as you continue on your journey with complicated marine maps and equipment, only the beam from a lighthouse will provide the reassurance that you are close to a coastline, and that you are on the right path.

This is also the case with tattoos that focus more on the light beam.

2. Emphasis on Lighthouse Structures

If your tattoo is more focused on the structure of a lighthouse, then it might be a symbol of:

  •  Power
  •  Strength
  •  Might
  •  Longevity

The 3rd longest surviving wonder of the Ancient World was the Lighthouse of Alexandria. Approximately 393 to 450ft tall, this lighthouse was built back during the Ptolemaic dynasty. For centuries, it reigned supreme as one of the tallest artificial structures on the face of the other.

Therefore, when your tattoo emphasizes the lighthouse structure, it will carry the symbol of might, power, and strength.

3. Addition of Inspirational Quotes

Alternatively, you might choose to get your lighthouse accompanied by an inspirational message. When this happens, the symbolism will revolve around any of the following:

  •  Inspiration
  • Reminiscence
  •  Motivation

Light, when used in the context of a tattoo, symbolizes hope and inspiration. This is also the case when you get a lighthouse for a tattoo. You might also choose to add a quote to the theme for special meaning, or as a daily reminder.

Of course, you can choose any quote. However, it is highly recommended that you go with something in the lines of survival and inspiration. By so doing, you will always remember your hope to see the light in all situations, particularly in your darkest moments.

4. Embedding Dates and Names

You might also choose to get your tattoo with names and dates to symbolize your tribute to the dearly departed in your life. In such a case, the lighthouse will act as a remembrance tattoo.

This option is common among those who have lost comrades and loved ones at sea. The design is particularly appropriate because you can use it to remember those that sailed through life with you.

However, this is not all there is to it. In many cases, you might prefer to use such a tattoo as a reflection of warmth, positivity, and hope.

5. Addition of Picturesque Elements

Of course, you can combine the lighthouse with beautiful elements as a symbol of freedom, love, and passion. This is quite common among tattoo lovers who want a full-sized option on their sleeves, arms, chest, and back.

By making such a choice, you will get that uniquely picturesque appeal especially if you get the tattoo conceptualized perfectly. You can also add more elements (such as an anchor, birds, a ship, and waves) to make the tattoo more significantly profound.

This option works best for those who are ardent sea-travelers, as well as anyone who enjoys the freedom that comes with being out on the high seas. You might also pick this kind of tattoo to show your passion for the beautiful lifestyle close to nature, the sea, and a lighthouse.

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Concluding Thoughts

With the lighthouse tattoo theme, you will get a permanent guide in your journey through life, while also giving impetus to your creativity. The theme has such an enormous scope that you should be able to find an artist creative enough to depict the exact meaning you desire.

What is more, the design and placement ideas are so vast that you might be spoilt for choice when you decide to get a lighthouse inked on your body. This, among many other factors, is what makes such designs uniquely qualified for the authentic lighthouse, sea, and tattoo enthusiast.

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