New Ink in the Coast Guard’s Tattoo Policy

Written by Aimee Hart

Calling all salty Coast Guardsmen and women!

Did you know the Coast Guard has changed the tattoo standards? Well it’s true, and the policy can be found at COMDTINST 1000.1C.

Here is a run-down of the changes, many of which relax past restrictions!

Neck/Chest Tattoos:

Any tattoo displayed on the chest must not be visible more than 1 inch above the v-neck undershirt worn beneath the Tropical Blue uniform shirt. Previous policy stated that no tattoo could be visible when wearing the V-neck undershirt.

neck 1

Example of authorized neck tattoo

Hand Tattoos:

Only one tattoo ring can be displayed on each hand and shall not extend past the first knuckle on the finger from the base.

  • Tattoos or brands must not be below the wrist.


ring tattoo

Example of authorized ring tattoo

hand tattoo

Example of authorized hand tattoo











All tattoos:

  • There are no restrictions on tattoo size or percentage of body coverage. A brand; however, may be no larger than a 4-inch by 4-inch area and can be anywhere but the head, face or neck.
  • Ultraviolet (UV) or black light tattoos are allowed and follow the same rules as normal tattoos.
  • As a reminder, tattoos or brands that promote racism/discrimination, indecency, extremist philosophies, lawlessness (for example, glorifies the drug culture), violence or sexually explicit material are prohibited.


If you are looking to get a tattoo, make sure to review the entire policy before heading to the parlor!  

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