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."
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.
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.
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?