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Officers & Tattoos

Hi everyone,

I'm thinking of joining RN as an officer. I have a tattoo on my shoulder blade and am keen to get a couple more in the future. What are the attitudes of RN Officer culture and tattoos? In civvie world it seems completely acceptable (40% of people between 18-40 are tattooed apparently). Would having a tattoo/tattoos impede on my career progression? Thanks for any answers.
 

FunkyJunky

War Hero
Not above the collar or below the wrist.

Basically. As long none of your tattoos cause offence and they can't be seen when wearing a long sleeve shirt
 
Not above the collar or below the wrist.

Basically. As long none of your tattoos cause offence and they can't be seen when wearing a long sleeve shirt

As a Able rate, my advice is, though it's allowed, I'd avoid anything below the elbow personally (even though I'm tattooed there), because an officers best uniform when in the sunnier climates is short sleeved and though we like to brag about how the RN is classless these days, it does look a bit unbecoming to see a tattoo on an officer at the top of a gangway when there's a cocktail party onboard.


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NormanB

Midshipman
I thought it was just people with low IQ or poor education that had tattoos.
I have never seen any RN officers with tattoos.
But then again things may have changed, I retired 12 years ago.
I suppose they are eating baked beans too now - and they never were an officer's vegetable.
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
The tattoo/body piercing regulations are the same for all RN personnel - except females are permitted to wear ear studs, males are not (at present) & Royal Marines are permitted tattoos on their hands as they wear gloves with blues (parade uniform).

There was recently a viability study to determine whether the RN should follow the more relaxed, recently introduced, Army policy which permits neck & hand tattoos. Interestingly, there was an overwhelming majority of ratings who expressed the opinion there should be no change to the current RN policy.
 
G

guestm

Guest
I thought it was just people with low IQ or poor education that had tattoos.
I have never seen any RN officers with tattoos.
But then again things may have changed, I retired 12 years ago.
I suppose they are eating baked beans too now - and they never were an officer's vegetable.

There was a PWO cutting around Dryad around 2000 with tattoos agogo. So 'things may have changed' whilst you were still in. You clearly retired at the right time.

Nobody gives a **** about tattoos anymore, every other person, Officer and Rating has them so it's become normal.
 
There was recently a viability study to determine whether the RN should follow the more relaxed, recently introduced, Army policy which permits neck & hand tattoos. Interestingly, there was an overwhelming majority of ratings who expressed the opinion there should be no change to the current RN policy.

As much as I love my tattoos, I think there's something to be said for the clean cut look of not having ink appearing from under a collar in ones, even if my great-great-grandad had the old "hold" and "fast" markings. But maybe it's me? My ink is always on show in other rigs mind, so maybe I'm a bit hypocritical?


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NormanB

Midshipman
There was a PWO cutting around Dryad around 2000 with tattoos agogo. So 'things may have changed' whilst you were still in. You clearly retired at the right time.

Nobody gives a **** about tattoos anymore, every other person, Officer and Rating has them so it's become normal.
I bet he was a bubble head MCD.
 
View attachment 16691 This is part of one of my fellow Officers. I'm tattooed too and it hasn't done any harm to my career.
Wow that's impressive. Would I be right in assuming he commissioned from the ranks? As I've heard if officers do have prominent tattoos it's likely because they used to be ratings.

I'm asking the question because it seems to have been asked in the past (I've lurked both on this forum and ARRSE - cue hate and incoming fire) and there was a few people who seemed to really look down on the prospect of an officer having one or a few. But the threads seem to be from around 2006-2009, and I think now more people have tattoos than ever - it's definitely commonplace in my generation.

Re whether they look smart in No 1s or not, personally I was always going to get them in places on my body that would be covered by uniform and fairly discrete. I admit it probably looks smarter without having noticeable tats in your No 1s, and I would have no intention of showing any of mine off.

Thank you all for the answers they've been very helpful. Hopefully I can get a rewarding career out of RN! Although the latest TV series on Raleigh doesn't make it extremely enticing...
 
Try watching Devonport on Quest tomorrow night, it shows the real navy, not people in training. Plus as an officer, you'd go to BRNC Dartmouth, not HMS Raleigh.


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Pontius

War Hero
As a Able rate, my advice is, though it's allowed, I'd avoid anything below the elbow personally (even though I'm tattooed there), because an officers best uniform when in the sunnier climates is short sleeved and though we like to brag about how the RN is classless these days, it does look a bit unbecoming to see a tattoo on an officer at the top of a gangway when there's a cocktail party onboard.

Couldn't agree more.

It could be argued that I'm biased because I have no tattoos. However, I am realistic enough to realise they are the craze of the moment and I do appreciate some of the artistic talent but I do not believe tattoos appearing from under short sleeved uniform looks smart on anyone and, even in the classless RN, I agree with NM that it "looks a bit unbecoming on an officer".

All personal opinion, of course. Technically you can do what you want, so long as it's within the rules. I can't really imagine Pompey's mate as 1SL on divisions in sunny climes :)
 

Seadog

War Hero
Moderator
Tats are everywhere. Clean skin is original, individualist, rebellious. What tats were supposed to be.
 
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