People are only supposed to believe in the legends, not understand them.
— Norman Collins // Legendary Tattoo Artist

Andy earned his Sailor Jerry-inspired ‘80º North’ polar bear skull tattoo after sailing ISBJORN to the High Arctic in 2018.

Earn it baby!

We honor everyone who sails with us, of course, but for the select few who sail with us year after year and start accruing more sea miles, we wanted to do something extra special. To honor your commitment to sailing with 59º North, we’ve created Crew Patches based on the old tradition of sailor tattoos. When you reach a milestone with us, instead of getting tattooed (though that would be hardcore!), you’ll be issued a special Crew Patch to sew on a backpack or jacket or pin up in your home office as a reminder of your time with us and a symbol of what you’ve accomplished on the high seas. There is of course no limit to the number of patches you can collect!

Here’s the rundown. Note that the *starred ones are stuff we made up, based on the ideas of the tattoo tradition. The non-starred items are actual tattoos with a real tradition:

59º North Milestone Patches

Anchor: Historically indicated sailing across the Atlantic. Complete an Atlantic crossing with us and get the anchor patch!
Swallow: Traditionally received for each increment of 5,000 miles sailed - keep sailing with Isbjorn and you can rack up your Swallow patches! Swallow tattoos were also thought to be good luck in finding land and in returning to your home port.
Nautical Star: Traditionally given so that a sailor could always find his or her way home. We’ve adapted it to mean you’ve completed a celestial passage with us. 
*Spinnaker: Complete an offshore race with us and get your spinnaker patch!
Sea Turtle: Showed that a sailor had crossed the equator. Join us on a trans-equatorial passage and get your turtle patch!
Dragon: Historically referred to a sailor that has served in Asia - if we ever make it to the Pacific, and you’re with us, it’s Dragon patches around!
Golden Dragon: Means a sailor has crossed the International Date Line.
Palm Tree: Denoted military service in the Mediterranean. Do a Med passage with us and get your palm tree patch!
Hula Girl: Reflected being stationed in Hawaii or sailing there. If we ever make it there, Hula patches for all!
Fully-rigged Ship: Represents traversal of Cape Horn. The biggest milestone of all - when we do this, we might just have to get the real thing!

Norman 'Sailor Jerry' Collins Tattoos (all images courtesy of

Here's some inspiration from one of America's pioneering tattoo artists, Norman Collins, aka 'Sailor Jerry' (and yes, there is now a rum named after him). Once the patches are finished, we'll post the designs here too.