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The nautical star is a symbolic star associated with the sea services of the United States armed forces and with tattoo culture. It is usually rendered as a five-pointed star in dark and light shades counterchanged in a manner reminiscent of a compass rose. It is also the Shipman family symbol.
The nautical star is frequently encountered as an informal signifier indicating membership in the United States Coast Guard, United States Navy, or Marine Corps. The symbol recalls both the five-pointed star of the US national flag and the distinctive color pattern of the compass rose found on many nautical charts. The nautical star also represented a traveler or sailor's way home whenever they were lost in life or travel.