The anchor tattoo originated with the advent of electric tattooing, when sailors would travel from port to port and would get a tattoo to represent the life they led. The reason for the popularity among sailors and navy personnel is self-explanatory but we can find a lot more symbolism in the anchor design than you may have first thought.
The most common meaning associated with anchor tattoos is when someone feels as if they have found the place where they want to be in life. They may get an anchor tattoo to symbolize they have found where they want to “drop anchor”.
The opposite meaning can also be true of anchors. A rising anchor can symbolize hope, a new chapter or a new adventure. Just like a ship raising its anchor when it is about to set sail on a new voyage. This can also symbolize hope and heading in the unknown.
The anchor is also a powerful symbol of steadfastness. Anchors are obviously meant to keep a ship anchored in place even in rough seas so they have to be strong and steadfast.
This can be an excellent metaphor to symbolize a time when you have made a stand or set yourself a challenge or new set of rules to stick to. The metaphor extends to how the rough seas will try to move an anchored ship but the anchor holds it steady through the storm. No matter how rough things get the anchor is a symbol of not giving up on your new challenge.
Anchors are also sometimes tied in with Christianity. The top section of an anchor usually looks like the crucifix symbol and is therefore associated with sacrifice and salvation. I have heard that in Roman times for example, Christians would have an anchor tattoo to let other Christians know who they were without drawing attention to themselves.
I think overall an anchor tattoo is perfect for symbolizing a significant stage in your life whether you are setting off on a new adventure, setting a new challenge to stick to or anchoring yourself down for a more settled stage in your life.