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Thread: MerTail safety in Australian media and local pool ban!

  1. #1
    Junior Member Pod of Oceania TheMermanDan's Avatar
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    MerTail safety in Australian media and local pool ban!

    A bad day to be a Merman at Brunswick Baths!
    So it was a sunny weekend here in Melbourne and what better way to spend the day than down at the local pool. My local pool is Brunswick Baths and it has been a regular escape for a few years now. For the past four visits I have been taking along my FinFun Mermaid tail and have been swimming happily, safely and without issue. until today that is.
    About 30min into my swim on Sunday the 20th of December I was called to the pool side by one of the pools lifeguards who informed me that I was not allowed to swim with my tail in due to a new ban put in place by the manager of Brunswick Baths.
    I have been swimming in my tail for the past few weeks at Brunswick Baths, including the Saturday prior (19th December) and at no point was this mentioned to me. There are no signs regarding this new rule. When I asked the guard about this ban he said it was due to the fact that "young kids have been buying the tails and drowning." Now I did polity point out that I am no child and even the guard acknowledged that I was a very competent and confident swimmer in my tail. He went on to say that by me swimming in the tail young children are then buying the tails when they are not good swimmers and it is causing a major drowning risk. I did point out that It is not children buying these tails. It is the parents and it is also the parents role to assess if this is in fact an ideal swimming tool for their child's swimming ability.
    So I am being told I cannot swim in my tail due to the fact that parents are ignoring the multiple warnings and recommendations regarding swimming skills and leaving kids to just put on a tail and swim? After then speaking with the two duty managers (who knew nothing about this ban.) it came out that the head manager had put a message up on the staff facebook group saying they are band. Any time a parent or child has asked me about my tail I have clearly stated that you need to be a strong and confident swimmer to use one and that it takes a fair bit of practice to use one.
    I am well, aware that there is a video of a young girl in America who got caught with her head underwater as she could not swim properly in the tail and there has also been an article in the Herald Sun with a bit of a beat up about Mermaid tails being a dangerous Christmas present for kids. I can only assume that this has been part of what has influenced this "Tail ban" at Brunswick Baths. There have been no reported drownings with Mermaid Tails here in Australia.
    "Choice, Victorian Consumer Affairs Minister Jane Garrett and NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe have joined forces to remind parents to check age and safety advice."
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/…/cd2cf11c353418a7e7e83bcc42394…
    I have a FinFun Mermaid (Merman) tail and FinFun have got multiple warnings and recommendations all over their web page, youtube and very clearly on the product packaging. The FinFun Tails have extra safety benefits of easy mono-fin removal, opening at the bottom of the tail and a "No Strap" mono-fin. I have seen other tails that may not have all the same features, but they do have clearly labeled safety warnings. Even Floaties can be dangerous if not used properly and still recommend adult supervision at all times.
    http://www.finfunmermaid.com/mermaid-tail-safety/
    https://www.youtube.com/watch…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch…
    In some public pools in Canada they require tail wearers to pass a basic swim skill assessment (breath hold, swimming distance unassisted and treading water) before being able to use a mermaid tail in the pool. Even then some pools have age restrictions full stop. There are Professional Mermaids/Mermen all over the world who wear tails at kids parties and events where they share pool safety advice and ocean conservation messages.
    With the trend of Mermaid tails growing I can only hope Brunswick Baths chose to take on a better thought out policy on the wearing of the tails and who knows, they may even bring in Mermaid training classes for advanced swimming lessons.


    I really do love swimming at Brunswick Baths and up until now I have shared nothing but praise for the facility and its staff.


    After speaking with both duty managers they could see no reason why I should not be allowed to swim in my FinFun tail. Lets hope commonsense prevails and that this does not need to become an issue with a much louder voice. I am waiting to her back from the head manager to find out what the future holds for my Merman Adventures at Brunswick Baths.
    https://www.facebook.com/Brunswickbaths/?fref=ts


    Please head to my Facebook page to LIKE and SHARE my post to help get some proper attention on this topic rather than disproportionate reactionary responses to ill researched media reports. https://www.facebook.com/daniel.hayw...56283870585573

    Anyone else had issues like this in Australia or elsewhere?
    Last edited by TheMermanDan; 12-20-2015 at 02:39 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mermaid Jaffa's Avatar
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    Its not the mermaid fin that's dangerous. Its the skill of the user that must come into account when using such devices.

    I tell everyone that asks me, if its hard to swim in a tail, I practiced with a monofin for a year before I started wearing tails. It takes a lot of practice, stamina and basic swimming skills like being able to flip over on your back if you get tired, instead of that panicky water treading I see some mers do.
    Last edited by Mermaid Jaffa; 12-20-2015 at 05:12 AM.
    Formerly known as ireneho

  3. #3
    That's such bullshit!
    I also fear more and more pools are coming to this conclusion. I've not had my tail banned myself, but I figure it's only a matter of time.
    This is why I'm opting now to only swim in private pools or in the bay.

    I'm totally on your side Dan.




  4. #4
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Fifi Tigg's Avatar
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    Grrrrrr this makes me so mad!
    Just because of one mother with no common sense, we all have to now suffer!
    I have been happily swimming in a pod at our local pool all winter, but now it's summer we haven't needed to use the pools. I hope that when the cold weather rolls around again that we will still be allowed!
    Just so pissed with the media for trying to make a story with this one old video!!
    http://make animated gifs like this at MakeaGif

  5. #5
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mer-Crazy's Avatar
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    It is, indeed, a dark day for Aussie Mers.

    The local pools know me as a mermaid, and they've all been pretty cool about it, unfortunately they're all council owned pools, so I am in high risk of having my tail banned should they catch wind of this and get scared. With my new tail due next year I'm worried I'm not going to have a winter place to swim. There is one that's actually closest to me, but it's like $7 to swim because it's a gym's pool but maybe they won't be affected by the council since it's privately owned... fins crossed.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Mer-Crazy View Post
    It is, indeed, a dark day for Aussie Mers.

    The local pools know me as a mermaid, and they've all been pretty cool about it, unfortunately they're all council owned pools, so I am in high risk of having my tail banned should they catch wind of this and get scared. With my new tail due next year I'm worried I'm not going to have a winter place to swim. There is one that's actually closest to me, but it's like $7 to swim because it's a gym's pool but maybe they won't be affected by the council since it's privately owned... fins crossed.

    Let us know how that goes!




  7. #7
    Dan, suggest also going contacting Moreland City Council and speaking to the Mayor.
    http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/about...am-south-ward/




  8. #8
    Junior Member Pod of Oceania TheMermanDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Annwyn- View Post
    Dan, suggest also going contacting Moreland City Council and speaking to the Mayor.
    http://www.moreland.vic.gov.au/about...am-south-ward/
    I have sent an email directly to the pool awaiting a response and if I am not satisfied with that outcome then I will follow your advice and bring it up with the local Mayor. Thank you. x

  9. #9
    So it's started?! I got so frustrated by seeing that video go around as evidence....
    As a swimming teacher the only thing that video should be used for is an example of why kids should have swimming lessons and displaying a stupid decision on the part of the parent.
    There were obvious signs that the child wasn't a strong swimmer before she was told to do a flip anyway. I mean she held her nose to go underwater!
    I've friends sharing this to my friend and I because they know we're mermaids.
    Mermaids - not so graceful on land...
    Luna Dreamtide
    (Formerly Leina)

  10. #10
    Junior Member Pod of Oceania TheMermanDan's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your support. Please do go to my facebook page to like and share my post. I am relying on the power of social media to support my argument.

    https://www.facebook.com/daniel.hayw...56283870585573

    I really hope that this blows over without issue otherwise it's back to my shell pool in the back yard.
    Last edited by TheMermanDan; 12-20-2015 at 07:19 AM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    Believe me, I have gone CRAZY leaving posts all over every single news post. It blows my mind it took like 8 months for them to see this old video lol. and it's not even from Australia.

    here's my post:

    Hello to Australia from Canada! You're a little behind on the times, as this video is a bit old and has already been addressed and debunked quite a few times! I personally reached out to the mother and she did a follow up video stating her daughter didn't know how to swim, nor had she ever worn a mermaid tail before. As a leading expert in the field in Canada, with a background in Child development, and a background in Elementary education, I'd like to shed some light and a few facts!

    First of all, as Australians you should know that mermaid swimming has existed for over 100 years- starting with your very own Annette Kellerman. (a personal feminist hero of mine!) In all of the time monofins have been around, not a single person has ever drowned! Same with mermaid tails. Now, does that mean they aren't without risks? Of course not. But there are a few remedies for that risk as followed:

    Like any sport, care must be given to proper safety procedures. You wouldn't put sharp blades on your child's feet and send them out on a frozen lake without a little consideration right? Monofin swimming is the same way! ALL monofins are equipped with either emergency release buttons (such as this tail) or emergency release protocol. That information is not only printed on the box, but also on the fins themselves (and of course the product websites). It's important that children demonstrate an ability to use the emergency release buttons.

    Obviously a child should be a capable swimmer, and never left unsupervised. While this mom made a bad call by telling her inexperienced child to "do a flip" (even without a mermaid tail, how many of us can do a flip without getting stuck?) she thankfully was right there in the water with her child. That's the key here! Responsible parenting.

    So why bother with mermaid tails? Well, many long-term peer reviewed studies suggest that girls are lacking in societal support when it comes to physical fitness. With many blockages such as body image, young girls are not being encouraged in the same way boys are, and as we all know... childhood obesity rates are climbing. Monofin swimming/mermaid swimming is something young girls are flocking to, and that interested should be encouraged, monitored for safety, and celebrated. Monofin swimming can burn up to 500 calories an hour, and promotes imagination.

    Similarly, long term studies suggest that the value of "playing pretend" (such as pretending to be a mermaid) sets children up for later life success in both school and employment. Nurturing their imagination puts children on the path to success.

    Here in Canada I run a Girl's Empowerment workshop utilizing mermaid tails. It's a mermazing experience. Young girls are encouraged toward safer swimming and physical fitness, along with nurturing their imagination.

    So yes, like most childhood activities- like riding a bike, playing hockey, being on a sports team, climbing monkey bars... mermaid swimming does have inherent risk. But that doesn't mean it can't be a valuable tool for children everywhere, when done appropriately. Remember when snow boarding came on the scene and used to be banned from ski hills- and now has a place in the Olympics? Funny enough, American olympian Michael Phelps once swam in a merman tail for disney wink emoticon

    I leave you with a news segment in which I addressed the issues locally. I invite you to contact me if you'd like further information! In addition to running a trail blazing award winning company in Canada, I am also a twice published author, and an educator. I make an amazing living as a professional mermaid.


  12. #12
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    I'll be honest it happened here in Canada and pools did ban them. My company is one of the only companies in Canada allowed to be mermaids in pools and host mermaids and it's because of our reputation, and our insurance.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mer-Crazy's Avatar
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    Apparently Renee in Sydney was actually getting hate mail about all this! I mean are you freaking kidding me? If you don't want your kid to swim in a fin or tail fine but don't hate on capable adults who do it for a job.

    Everyone's biggest argument in this case against us is 'it's a drowning risk' and I can only assume the hate stems from people being afraid that adults doing it for a job will encourage children to pursue the hobby. Well you know what has actually killed people? Surfing. (Sorry Raina it's just a better analogy for Australia than hockey) and you don't see Kelly Slater getting hate mail do you? The only bloody difference here is that mermaiding isn't fully main stream yet. People still see it as weird or new. So yeah. Stuff you haters.

    Sent from my SM-T355Y using Tapatalk

  14. #14
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mermaid Jaffa's Avatar
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    I hope it doesn't become a reality at the pool I swim at...

    Though I'm pretty sure the lifeguard boss and his red shirt cronies have been watching me swim, ever since I "moved in."

    They've seen me floundering and thrashing in the shallow end a ton of times, before I moved into the deep end!
    Formerly known as ireneho

  15. #15
    Junior Member Pod of Oceania TheMermanDan's Avatar
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    Just an update on the incident. Here is the email I received from the pool today:

    Hi Daniel,

    Apologies for any inconvenience or frustration over the weekend in relation to this matter.

    I am the relevant manager who looks after the Lifeguards, Duty Managers and Health and Safety for this site- (but I am not the Centre Manager).

    I’d just like to acknowledge that we have received this complaint and that we are taking it seriously. I’d also like to thank you for bringing up the matter with us. I have referred the matter on to the Centre Manager who has referred it to our Area Manager who will discuss with the Aquatic Risk Team at YMCA state office who look after health and safety across all of the facilities that we manage.

    Once they have made a call on the use of these flippers and any potential procedures that we need to put in place I will get back to you straight away.

    Please know that in no way are we seeking to curb your enjoyment of the pool in any way, and that all we are seeking to do is ensure that we are compliant with relevant health and safety best practices and encourage the best-possible aquatic behaviours from our patrons and staff.

    I will get back to you as soon as I have heard back from those above and I appreciate your understanding in this matter.
    Regards,
    RJ Houston
    Operations Coordinator | YMCA Victoria

  16. #16
    Flippers my arse.

    They're called "Swimming Aides."

    This was the response I got from Brunswick Baths:

    "Hi Annwyn,

    Thank you for your commentary in relation to this matter.

    We apologise for any frustration and/or confusion in relation to this.

    We are doing a full review as to the use of Mermaid fins in our facilities and will get back to you as soon as the findings from this review are confirmed.

    As always, we want all of our users to experience the full enjoyment of the facility in a safe manner. Again, as always, if the lifeguard staff feel a particular piece of equipment or behaviour poses a safety risk to any patron, it is their call to halt the use of that equipment or behaviour as the liability is ultimately on them, not parents or users. As such, both Management and the Lifeguard staff err on the side of caution until a call has been made from Life Saving Victoria or other relevant advisory body."

    That's what this is all about folks - Liability. They don't know anything about Mermaiding so they're covering their arses. I just hope that they research correctly, but I'm skeptical.




  17. #17
    IMHO, once one council bans finswimming, then all councils will follow suit.

    Our only option then would be two things:

    1) Appeal for an exemption. This may require being a part of a diving or freediving body, and proving that one has the proper certification to show that they are not a liability.

    2)Seek out private pools to train in.

    The truth of the matter is that this is becoming an issue that we seriously need to communicate about. We somehow need to view this as a positive thing.
    Last edited by -Annwyn-; 12-21-2015 at 06:19 AM.




  18. #18
    Junior Member Pod of Oceania TheMermanDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Annwyn- View Post
    IMHO, once one council bans finswimming, then all councils will follow suit.

    Our only option then would be two things:

    1) Appeal for an exemption. This may require being a part of a diving or freediving body, and proving that one has the proper certification to show that they are not a liability.

    2)Seek out private pools to train in.
    I also think a bit of publicity goes a long way. The Project only just featured a segment on Adam Velantine (a merman in Melbourne) and they filmed the segment at Fitzroy pools who have been very supportive of his Mermaning. If the council chose to put a ban on them then I will be asking for Australia wide support from Mercommunity to build some noise and hope to get the Project's attention.

    This is not at council level at the moment, but simply being reviewed by the state YMCA Aquatic Risk Management.

    My key issue with this online res-ponce was that it implies that I was asked to take off my tail as it was a possible danger, but the only danger expressed to me by the lifeguard was that kids will want one when they can't swim properly. !?!? So lets ban all surf boards as kids may drawn using one when they don't know how.

  19. #19
    Yeah they're using a slippery slope argument which is ludicrous.

    I'm penning a letter that I intend to present to Monash council once I get the response back from Brunswick Baths.

    You know its almost funny. Moreland Council appear to LOVE the arts and fringe activities.




  20. #20
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Annwyn- View Post
    IMHO, once one council bans finswimming, then all councils will follow suit.

    Our only option then would be two things:

    1) Appeal for an exemption. This may require being a part of a diving or freediving body, and proving that one has the proper certification to show that they are not a liability.

    2)Seek out private pools to train in.

    The truth of the matter is that this is becoming an issue that we seriously need to communicate about. We somehow need to view this as a positive thing.
    That's what happened here. One started now all do

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