From The Eastern Yacht Club Ditty Box [A history of the Marblehead's Eastern Yacht Club, covering the years 1870-1900]:
“Every true sailor should have a tattoo mark somewhere on his body, but as the process is expensive and quite painful most sailors are content with a small sample of this art. Not so with Messrs. [Charles G.] Weld and [Charles A.] Longfellow, who were not only real sailors but had the fortitude and appreciation of art to allow their whole backs to be tattooed in brilliant color and graceful design by a Japanese artist.”
That was 1885. The pair were on a trip to Japan and chartered an English schooner there, for a cruise--a cruise on which they shaved a point of land too close and grounded hard, smashing the schooner's main bulkhead. Everyone survived--including the schooner (called Loiterer), though she is reported to have later been smashed to bits in another accident.