(4) Tattoos or brands labeled violent or promoting lawlessness are those that depict extreme
graphic violence, profanity, glorifications of drug culture, or markings that can reasonably be
interpreted as anti-government in nature.
c. Size or Coverage of Area. Excessive tattooing or branding is defined as that which results in more
than 25% of an exposed limb (arm/leg) being adorned, and is not authorized. The exposed area
shall be regarded as the zone between the member's elbow and wrist or the knee and the ankle. A
complex tattoo (mural, serpentine, etc.) that dominates a given area shall be regarded as full
coverage for the purpose of determining excessiveness, regardless of any un-tattooed area within
the larger picture. Coverage shall be determined by visual approximation. The measuring of
individual limbs is not intended or desired. In the case of branding, no more than one brand, not
to exceed 4" x 4", may appear anywhere on the body.
d. Body Piercing. No piercing, other than those for earrings as described below, shall be made
through the ear, nose, tongue, chin, eyebrow, or any other body part that would be visible while in
any uniform. This prohibition applies to male and female members alike and is specifically
intended to limit the less than military appearance associated with vacant holes in the face and
other exposed areas of the body. Other piercing concealed by the uniform (such as navel and
nipples) are strongly discouraged due to the potential for infection and medical complications.
Under no circumstance shall such concealed piercing and accompanying jewelry be visible
through, or interfere with, the professional appearance of the member in uniform, nor shall such
jewelry be visible while onboard a Coast Guard unit. Piercing in the ear shall not exceed two per
ear lobe and shall be small and inconspicuous. Additional piercing in the ear lobes and cartilage
are prohibited. Guidance regarding the wearing of earrings by women while in uniform, can be
found in Uniform Regulations, COMDTINST M1020.6 (series). All members are prohibited from
wearing forms of facial jewelry (other than earrings for women) while in uniform, on board a
military installation, or while attending a command sponsored event. Those personnel with
preexisting unauthorized piercing shall discontinue the use of those piercing to allow for eventual
healing. Questionable cases should be referred to Commandant (CG-122) for final determination.
d. Body Mutilation or Modification. Other forms of intentional body mutilation or modification (e.g.
scarring, excessive ear piercing/stretching, tongue splitting, beneath the skin decorative implants,
decorative tooth plating/engraving, etc.) are not authorized. This does not include traditional
elective medical procedures (e.g., teeth straightening, breast augmentation, cosmetic plastic
e. Disqualifying Tattoos, Brands, Piercings, or Mutilations. Applicants for enlistment or
appointment with prohibited tattoos, brands, or mutilations described in paragraph 5.a. to 5.e. shall
not be permitted to join the Coast Guard or Coast Guard Reserve. Initially unqualified applicants
who choose to either alter or remove a disqualifying tattoo, brand, or mutilation may be
reconsidered at a later date, provided they remain qualified in all other respects. However, no
commitment shall be made suggesting that the removal or alteration of a tattoo or brand will
ensure Coast Guard acceptance. Applicants with excess piercings that do not rise to the level of
mutilation, shall be given the option of discontinuing the use of the unauthorized piercings
throughout their Coast Guard service.