For a military service known almost as much for its ink as the ships they sail, the U.S. Navy is easing the restrictions on tattoos.
In an announcement made Thursday, sailors will now be permitted to have tattoos on their necks, full sleeve tattoos and hand tattoos, the Navy Times reported.
The new rules will take effect April 30 and will allow sleeve tattoos that can be seen while wearing short sleeve uniforms, have one tattoo on the neck or behind an ear that is no more than 1 inch long and sailors with visible tattoos can serve recruiting duty or lead new recruits at boot camp.
Tattoos that are obscene or discriminatory are still not allowed.
All ink must be documented in the sailor's service record, and if any tattoos have prohibited content, they could face disciplinary action, including involuntary discharge, the Navy Times reported.
But what exactly could be prohibited will be left to the commanding officers to decide.
Traditionally, sailors with banned content have been given the opportunity to either change or remove the unacceptable designs.
Marines, while coming under the Navy's umbrella, will not be permitted to follow the same rules put forth for sailors.
The Army eased the restrictions on sleeve tattoos last year but still do not allow marks on necks or hands.
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