Navy to Let Sailors Have Neck and Full Sleeve Tattoos

'This policy change is about being honest with ourselves'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2016 2:19 PM CDT
Navy to Let Sailors Have Neck and Full Sleeve Tattoos
Looking good, sailor.   (Shutterstock)

The brave men and women protecting our waters are now free to get all tatted up. The Navy announced Thursday it's easing tattoo restrictions for sailors, the Virginian-Pilot reports. Under the new guidelines, which go into effect April 30, sailors will be allowed one small tattoo on the neck and have free rein to go crazy below the knees and elbows. “This policy change is about being honest with ourselves, and putting policies in place that reflect tattoo realities in the nation we serve,” a Navy spokesperson says. Previously, tattoos below the knees and elbows had to be no larger than a sailor's hand. Sailors will now be allowed to sport full sleeve tattoos. According to USA Today, neck tattoos must be kept smaller than an inch.

The Navy Times calls the new guidelines the "military's best tattoo rules" and points out that more than one in three millennials have tattoos."It’s a tough recruiting environment out there already, and when you start putting up barriers that don’t have any true rationale behind them, you create problems for yourself into the future," the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy says. Many sailors had complained that their tattoos were keeping them from advancing their careers. For the first time, sailors with heavily tattooed arms will be allowed to train recruits and work in recruiting offices. But tattoos still must not be “prejudicial to good order, discipline, and morale, or be of a nature that brings discredit upon the naval service." And sorry, sailors, face tats are still a no-go. (More tattoos stories.)

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