Just an idea, no word otherwise. And I wasn't thinking juivi, I was thinking different varietiants on classics. Especially if you're thinking of pirate. It would only really be noticeable by an opponent in a very close quarters scenario (eg, boarding).
It is not limited to figurehead, it could be scroll work or coat of arms:
"... The last example may well have been the sloop HMS Cadmus launched in 1903. Early steamships did sometimes have gilt scroll-work and coats-of-arms at their bows. This practice lasted up until about World War I... "