While mermaiding is becoming more and more popular, we're noticing that facilities and aquatic centers are prohibiting the use of mermaid tails. Why? Safety.
(I know, I know. But hear me out.)
There is currently no standard for assessing an individual's ability to swim safely in a mermaid tail. Lifeguards and aquatics directors have no way of knowing if that person will sink or swim once they enter the water. And while there haven't been any reported US drowning deaths due to mermaid tail use, there have been quite a few close calls. These publicized incidents result in some parents and most aquatic facilities stamping a big, fat ban on all mermaid tails.
So how do we combat these bans? You guessed it...Safety!
When I launched my Tail Training Course, I compiled a list of guidelines (complete with a skills test) to not only educate my students, but to also educate the staff members of my local aquatic facilities. And, because I believe that mermaiding is for everyone, I have decided to share my tips with you!
Please read through the guidelines BEFORE purchasing and using a mermaid tail for yourself or a friend. Always check with your local facilities and aquatics staff to make sure they are comfortable with you flipping your fins. Remember, you want them on your side should something go wrong. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about mermaid safety or advice on which tail may suit you best.
Until next time, happy splashing!
*Disclaimer: These are suggested guidelines developed for Deep Blue Aquatics, LLC for recreational mermaiding, only. They are not officially backed by any safety organization. These guidelines are not necessarily comprehensive and in no way guarantee safety while using a mermaid tail.*
Safety Guidelines for Recreational Mermaiding
Developed by Deep Blue Aquatics, LLC
- As with any other aquatic activity, never swim alone.
It is especially important when mermaiding to have at least one person with you who is NOT in a tail. (Preferably a certified lifeguard.)
DO NOT LET CHILDREN SWIM UNATTENDED. Children should be properly supervised by a parent/guardian at all times when using any recreational device. ACTIVE surveillance is key!
- Do not use a mermaid tail in combination with a life jacket, water wings, or other restrictive flotation devices or toys. This can actually hinder movement and increase risk of incident.
- Put on your tail immediately near the body of water in which you will be swimming.
When on land, do not hop, jump, or attempt to walk in your tail. This could result in serious injury.
- Young children should not swim in deep water while wearing a mermaid tail. They should have the ability to stand up if they get fatigued.
- Always warm up with a few laps and monofin-only swimming before putting on a full tail.
This helps to avoid injury or incident that would occur due to muscle cramping.
- Know your tail!
It is important for individuals and their swim buddies to be familiar with the safety features on their tail that allow for ease of removal in case of an emergency.
It's also important for parents/individuals to research which type of tail is appropriate for their needs and skill level.
- Before putting on a tail, the individual should show proof of having successfully passed Level 3 of the American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim Program or should successfully complete the Mermaid Skills Swim Test.
The Mermaid Skills Swim Test should be completed without the use of any floatation devices (including but not limited to: life jackets, life vests, water wings, rescue tubes, pool noodles, etc.)
The goal of the test is to gauge comfort and confidence in the water.