Are Mermaid Tails Dangerous?
Mermaid tails have become increasingly popular over the last few years, especially among young kids. Many people ask us if mermaid tails are safe to swim in.
We say: Yes, mermaid tails are safe to swim in with proper training and supervision!
Mermaid swimming is a brand new sport and most people don’t know what it is or how to classify it. At Aquamermaid school, we approach mermaid swimming as a new type of artistic swimming. It is a fusion of synchronized swimming and monofin techniques. It's not a new freediving training branch about breath-holding, nor is it competitive monofin races aiming for maximum power and speed.
We define mermaid swimming as the most beautiful aquatic sport, with a combination of dolphin kick variations and graceful movements. It is a great cardiovascular exercise with an emphasis on core muscles and back flexibility.
Are mermaid tails safe to swim in?
It is known that any aquatic activity has a high risk of drowning, especially with young children. Adding a mermaid tail costume where your legs are bound together can be dangerous for inexperienced swimmers. This is why we have decided at Aquamermaid to create a chain of specialized mermaid swimming schools and focus all our energy on teaching proper safety protocols and swimming techniques solely for mermaids.
To ensure the maximum level of safety here are the guidelines that we have implemented at the school:
- Minimum age is 7 years old to join lessons
- All students must pass a swim test (independent 25 meters swim without touching the bottom, tread water for 60 seconds, able to do front float, back float, and rollover) *If the test is failed students must wear a life jacket to join the activity.
- 1 instructor per 5 students for close surveillance of the swimmers.
- A certified lifeguard must be at the pool at all times.
- Parents are always welcome to join their kids in the pool for extra supervision.
- Progressive learning is really important to make sure students are comfortable in the water and confident with the different movements. Lessons start with dolphin kick swimming techniques outside of the water, then in the water with no equipment. Once familiarized with the swimming stroke, we put on monofins and mermaid tails.
- Lessons always start in the shallow section of the pool with everyone holding onto a floater. Gradually we let go of the floaters and move toward deeper water if the students are strong swimmers.
- The instructor always keeps a flotation device with them in case anyone needs helps or to rest.
What makes a mermaid tail dangerous :
- Bad adjustment. Beware of fins that are too loose; there's a high chance they will fall off the feet while swimming. It is more challenging to swim with a mermaid tail outside of your feet because you can only rely on treading water with your arms. Fins' straps should be individually adjusted to be tight around each foot. There should not be space to insert your finger between the strap and the feet. Better to be a bit tighter than the opposite. Water and movement can also result in the straps loosing up a little bit. TIP: If your fin falls off your feet you should flip onto your back and float. This is a great safety position to rest and use your arms to swim to the side of the pool.
- Frail material that can break and shatter. Beware of plexiglass inserts inside cheap fins. If you stand or hit them on the pool sides they could crack or break into many sharp pieces.
- Poor monofin design. Beware of loose feet inside fins made with fabric like neoprene. Those types of fins do not provide enough control or support of the feet. They are one-size-fits-all and do not offer much propulsion.
- No ankle support. If there are no individual foot pockets with space in between, then your ankles will rub together and it will be painful over time.
- Stiff material, non-adjustable rubber fins. Monofins that cannot be adjusted can cause blisters. Those are the worst enemy of mermaids.
- Thick fabric. Beware of mermaid tails with really big flukes and multiple fabric layers. Too much fabric and especially thick fabric absorbs a lot of water and becomes heavy, creating a lot of drag. This makes it more demanding to swim and it will feel like wearing clothing underwater.
- Homemade tails: Many people get crafty and make their own mermaid tails. However, many don’t know that a monofin is NECESSARY to swim with a tail in the water. It gives you power and control. Don’t forget this important piece. Make sure there are no materials that can fall off your costume, such as pearls, sequins, or glitter. They can easily enter someone's eyes and be dangerous.
After testing a variety of mermaid tails with thousands of students at Aquamermaid school we designed our own tail with the most secure and safe features. The monofin is made of flexible plastic with individual foot pockets and adjustable straps for a perfect fit. For the tail costume, we opted for polyester stretch fabric that is lightweight and resistant to chlorine to keep bright colors. The tail offers a close fit to the body without absorbing water, which prevents drag. Check out Aquamermaid tails for kids and adults.
*Note: Often kids will stay underwater to take a little break because it is less demanding than swimming with their arms and tail to keep their head above water. This can be stressful, but get to know your swimmers and whether they are relaxing underwater or if they are in distress.
Are mermaid tails allowed in public pools?
- With the fast-growing popularity of swimmable mermaid tails many pools and cities did not know what to do with the new trend. Many decided to ban mermaid tails to avoid any problems since they were unsure if any risks were associated with this new equipment.
- I suggest calling your local swimming pool before showing up. Ask them what their policy is regarding mermaid tails and if you are allowed to swim with your tail during the leisure swim.
- Since it can be tricky to find a pool to practice mermaid swimming, we organize leisurely mermaid swim meets during Aquamermaid pool rental time in many cities. Learn more about that.
Mermaid tail in CANADA & USA:
- Some cities like Edmonton Canada associated mermaid tails with the freediving sport and breath-holding and mentioned their ban was justified that breath-holding leads to blackouts. This means all the city-managed pools did not allow mermaid tails. However private pools like YMCA and hotels are still available for mermaid swimmers.
- Most pools make their own policy, some requiring a swim test to be allowed to swim with a mermaid tail during leisure swim. Some allow mermaid tails only when the pool is not to busy and only in the shallow section.
Are mermaid tails banned in Australia?
There was a study conducted by the Royal Life Saving Society of WA to test the swimming skills of children aged between 2 and 12, both while wearing and not wearing the tails and fins.
“While we knew that swimming ability would obviously be affected by wearing mermaid tails or fins, we didn’t know to what extent.’’ stated David Hilyard, Commissioner for Consumer Protection
"The study highlights the extent mermaid tail products reduce a child's ability to swim, increasing their tiredness more quickly, so these factors really do increase the risk of a drowning tragedy. A mermaid tail reduces a child's movement in the water as they're quite binding in their nature holding their legs together. Fins showed they can reduce a child's ability to swim by up to 70%, dramatically increasing the chances of drowning’’
The report makes a number of recommendations to make the use of mermaid tails and fins safer.
- Mermaid Tail products are appropriate for children 7 years or older, or for children at Swim and Survive Stage 6 (can swim 50 meters freestyle, float on front and back, scull on back and tread water)
- Mermaid Fin products are not appropriate for children under the age of 10 years due to their limited strength and fitting issues with the products regularly slipping off
- Children should be directly supervised by a responsible adult at all times while wearing either tails or fins
- The products should only be used in controlled environments such as home swimming pools
- Aquatic centers should develop policies regarding the use of these products and implement them, with staff to be given information about their use and have a role to educate parents visiting the center
- Safety messages and warnings highlighting the dangers, age restrictions and stressing the importance of supervision be displayed at points of sale and incorporated into packaging
- Community safety campaigns to raise awareness among parents, product manufacturers, and retailers
WHERE CAN I SWIM WITH MY MERMAID TAIL
Your first choice should be to swim at a mermaid school. Check if there's one near you. If there is no mermaid swimming school in your area, here are our recommendations to safely use a mermaid tail in the water.
- Practice basic swimming skills if not strong enough to swim in a mermaid tail. A mermaid skirt is the best option for a 2-6 year old.
- Pass a swim test without fin first
- Use floaters or life jacket
- Be able to roll over into a back float
- Stay in the shallow section
- Adult supervision at all time
- Never swim alone
I founded Aquamermaid school in 2015 and since then my first goal has been to make sure this sport grows in a safe environment. Let me know if you need help crafting a policy regarding mermaid tails at your pool or if you have any questions related to mermaid tails.
We encourage parents, public pools, and other facilities to use their best judgment to decide if they are ready for our tails. We are proud to offer safe mermaid swimming as an excellent opportunity to encourage kids to learn to swim and be active while also having fun.