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1.
Nautical Stars are an old sailor's tattoo, sailors took on these tattoo's as before navigational equipment became available they would use the stars. Having the tattoo would be like always having a star with you.

These are now popular tattoo's, the their symbolism is now more of they're a symbol of following your dreams, or of security.

Sadly, a lot of jerks just get these tattoo's because they look cool and don't have a clue what they mean.
"I just got a nautical star tattoo on my neck"
by Sam Bickley January 30, 2005
 
2.
A symbol of protection and guidance. Also, sailors would nautical stars tattooed on their forearms as a good luck symbol in hopes of returning home safely.
I just got nautical stars tattooed on my shoulders.
by Sasha June 14, 2006
 
3.
The Nautical Star is an old symbol used by sailors. It represents the North Star. If a sailor was stuck without any kind of navigation system, the stars were always a way back home. If you could find the North Star - you could find home. Sailors, believing in curses and omens, often tattooed a Nautical star on thier forearms to ensure a safe journey home.

Later, the Nautical Star was used by soliders for the same reason.

They are also used today as a symbol of independance and finding one's own way in life.
I just got a Nautical Star tattoo on my forearm.
by MikeNessMonster June 20, 2007
 
4.
While the nautical star once served as a symbol of safe return and guidance for sailors, it has had other uses over the years. Among other things, it was used by lesbians in the 1950s as an identifying mark so they could recognize each other.
I got a nautical star tattoo yesterday.
by //nah August 06, 2014