Going hand-in-hand with the nautical star's origins as a variation on the compass rose is guidance.
A nautical star with only four points is most closely associated with sailors, and the compass rose.
Typically, nautical stars feature five points rendered in alternating light and dark shades similar to the design of the four-pointed compass rose of ancient nautical charts.
In addition to ships and anchors, two tattoos still seen today symbolize items sailors used to guide them home; the compass rose and the nautical star.
A nautical star tattoo is based upon the compass rose design and was made popular by the sailors who created it.