My Coast Guard
Commentary | April 28, 2022

Updates to the Tattoo, Body Marking, Body Piercing, and Mutilation Standards

By Chief Warrant Officer 4 Allyson E.T. Conroy, MyCG Staff

The Coast Guard has updated its body marking policy to include tattoo placement, body branding, and micro blading. 

“We see the importance of evolving our service policy to reflect the times in which we live,” said Capt. Anthony Williams, Acting Director of Military Personnel. “As a service we support our members in their ability to express themselves while at the same time maintaining a sharp and professional military appearance to the public we serve.”

Major changes include the following:

  • Neck/Chest – If you have a tattoo on your neck, it will not be visible above a standard crew neck t-shirt from the front. Looking from the back, if you have a neck tattoo the tropical blue shirt must be able to cover the top of the tattoo.
  • Fingers – You may have a tattoo on a single finger per hand. That tattoo may be placed between the first knuckle that is closest to the wrist and the fingertip. It can be on the top of the finger or the side of the finger, and it is all right to be visible when standing at attention. A ring tattoo must be between the first and second knuckle that is closest to the wrist if it encircles the finger. 
  • Head/Face – You may have a tattoo behind your ear so long as that tattoo is no larger than an inch in any dimension. Micro blading, or eyebrow makeup, is allowed so long as it blends in naturally and matches your natural appearance. 
  • Branding – New Coast Guard applicants may now have multiple brands as long as they are located in the same approved areas for tattoos. If you are already a member of the Coast Guard, you may only obtain one brand if you do not already have one or have only one. The newly acquired brand may only be four-by-four inches and must adhere to the same policy as the tattoo placement. 

If you have any questions, please email the Office of Military Policy.

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Expanded tattoo policy for military members

Reference:
Tattoo, Body Marking, Body Piercing, and Mutilation Standards COMDTINST 1001.1E