WASHINGTON — The U.S. Coast Guard announced on Thursday it's changing its tattoo policy for new recruits and current service members.

The change will go into effect immediately.

The U.S. Coast Guard claims the policy change will make sure the workforce presents a sharp and professional military appearance to the public while permitting body art that is consistent with the Coast Guard’s Core Values.

The policy is being aligned closer to current tattoo trends also allows the Coast Guard to increase the pool of otherwise-qualified potential applicants for service. 

Changes to the policy now permit:

  • Tattoos and/or brands may not be visible above the collar of the Coast Guard’s Operational Dress Uniform’s (ODU) crew neck T-shirt.
  • One finger tattoo per hand is permitted. The tattoo must be between the first knuckle closest to the wrist (base of finger) and the second knuckle on the finger. One ring tattoo per hand remains authorized and will be considered as a finger tattoo. No tattoos are authorized on the thumbs.
  • A single tattoo per hand no larger than one inch in any dimension is authorized on the hand between the wrist and the first knuckle closest to the wrist (base of finger). No tattoos are authorized on the palms of hands.
  • In total, one hand tattoo and one finger or ring tattoo are allowed per hand. 

“I am pleased to see the Coast Guard’s new tattoo policy reinforces a professional appearance to the public while adopting some of the very same tattoo standards that are now acceptable among the public,” said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Jason Vanderhaden. “The new tattoo policy will expand our recruiting candidate pool and provide those already serving in the Coast Guard with a few new options.” 

The U.S. Coast Guard rules about body piercings and other body modifications have not changed from the previous policy. 

Click here for the new tattoo policy.

RELATED: US Coast Guard medevacs injured fisherman near Morehead City, North Carolina

RELATED: US Coast Guard station in Nags Head has special visitors