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Thread: SSI Mermaid certificate?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Euro Pod MermanOliver's Avatar
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    SSI Mermaid certificate?

    Well, I came across a Mermaid certificate issued by SSI in three different levels, but couldn't find any specifics what you will learn in them and what the pass criterias are. The website refers to the training standards, which one apparently can only access when being a member or haven taken that course.

    So my question is, do you really learn mermaid specific things there? What are the prerequisites? Or are they something like a subsection of the freediving certificates ("freediving light")? Are there some other courses giving bonus points, e.g. being able to take the "Mermaid Photography" course directly when being a cerified freediver of a certain level?

    Maybe there is some mer here who can answer those questions.

    Thanks!

    Merman Oliver

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    Senior Member Euro Pod Echidna's Avatar
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    why don't you email them and ask?

    that could be quite hilarious.
    (Personal experience with asking diverse organisations how they came by their "basic mermaid swimstyles" and such, or if they just pulled those out of their behinds)

    also, I've yet to see such a group to use any different method than:
    - to access our mermaid master course, you need to have taken our intermediate course (200 bucks)
    - to access the intermediate course, you need to have taken our beginner course (200 bucks)
    -to access.... etc

  3. #3
    You can find some Infos on the SSI website. https://www.divessi.com/de-IC/highlights/mermaiding/

    You have:
    Try Mermaid
    SSI Ocean Mermaid (requires SSI Mermaid)
    SSI Model Mermaid (requires SSI Mermaid)

    Since there are Brevets, you can look up the minimum requirements a student must be able to fulfill to get it (for SSI there is a big PDF somewhere).

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    Senior Member Euro Pod MermanOliver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fabianfrz View Post
    You can find some Infos on the SSI website. https://www.divessi.com/de-IC/highlights/mermaiding/

    You have:
    Try Mermaid
    SSI Ocean Mermaid (requires SSI Mermaid)
    SSI Model Mermaid (requires SSI Mermaid)

    Since there are Brevets, you can look up the minimum requirements a student must be able to fulfill to get it (for SSI there is a big PDF somewhere).
    That's the first thing I tried, but I hit a paywall (or was too blind), so that is the reason I asked here.

    EDIT: Took another look at the site, and it seems that I simply have to try again from a proper computer and not from my smartphone.

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    Last edited by MermanOliver; 12-15-2019 at 08:02 AM.

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    Senior Member Euro Pod MermanOliver's Avatar
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    Ok, got the info. No paywall, just needed to switch to a proper computer (id10t error on my side). Thanks !

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    Senior Member Euro Pod Echidna's Avatar
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    looked it up.
    Typical pyramid of buying the total newbie-beginner courses before being allowed to access the other courses (which seem very basic too).
    In their advert trailer, which shows their "teaching methods" (looks like tailored for very small kids), they even misspelled monofin.

    I'd give those self-proclaimed teachers a very wide berth.

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    So I have been researching this as a guy reached out to me a few provinces over who is apparently the only SSI certified mermaid instructor in Canada. As I understand it they approached a few well known pro mermaids and basically took their curriculum they used for their own mermaid school programs. As I chatted back and forth trying to research myself, it seems like my team still have far better qualifications in their freediving and swim instructor courses, than what SSI is currently offering. In my country SSI only has a small bit of the market and aren't as recognized at PADI are.

    On the one hand, I think having something like this widespread would be a good thing and help mermaids all around. Bans are starting to roll out again in different parts of my country and the main thing they cite is no regulatory body that can vouch for people's skill. So at least if someone passes a course and gets a certificate, it may satisfy that end of things. In the long run, it could lead to less bans and possibly lower insurance or even insurance that is specific to mermaid swimming (not just performing or business owning). I also think anyone giving mermaid lessons or running a mermaid school needs some sort of proof they are qualified to do so.

    But on the other hand, it sounds like SSI has very little experience in mermaiding at all and the way they created their course basically stole from others, and even despite that, isn't really all that great for mermaids. I think anyone with freediving should be considered vastly qualified. It seems to be a bit more of a money grab considering no one really recognizes them as an authority (e.g. life saving society, st john ambulance and other regulatory bodies for swimming/water safety) PADI has a few mermaid specialty courses which no one seems to recognize as having any authority either.

    That being said, if it becomes more of a thing I probably will obtain it just to say I have it.

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    Senior Member Euro Pod MermanOliver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AniaR View Post
    So I have been researching this as a guy reached out to me a few provinces over who is apparently the only SSI certified mermaid instructor in Canada. As I understand it they approached a few well known pro mermaids and basically took their curriculum they used for their own mermaid school programs. As I chatted back and forth trying to research myself, it seems like my team still have far better qualifications in their freediving and swim instructor courses, than what SSI is currently offering. In my country SSI only has a small bit of the market and aren't as recognized at PADI are.

    On the one hand, I think having something like this widespread would be a good thing and help mermaids all around. Bans are starting to roll out again in different parts of my country and the main thing they cite is no regulatory body that can vouch for people's skill. So at least if someone passes a course and gets a certificate, it may satisfy that end of things. In the long run, it could lead to less bans and possibly lower insurance or even insurance that is specific to mermaid swimming (not just performing or business owning). I also think anyone giving mermaid lessons or running a mermaid school needs some sort of proof they are qualified to do so.

    But on the other hand, it sounds like SSI has very little experience in mermaiding at all and the way they created their course basically stole from others, and even despite that, isn't really all that great for mermaids. I think anyone with freediving should be considered vastly qualified. It seems to be a bit more of a money grab considering no one really recognizes them as an authority (e.g. life saving society, st john ambulance and other regulatory bodies for swimming/water safety) PADI has a few mermaid specialty courses which no one seems to recognize as having any authority either.

    That being said, if it becomes more of a thing I probably will obtain it just to say I have it.
    100% this, Raina. That is what I thought when reading the course objectives and standards (which unfortunately was very vague what the pass criteria really are, they referred to the actual training materials, which made me *very* suspicious).

    I expected to read something like "be able to swim 100m in a tail, demonstrate how to take off a tail in water too deep to stand, demonstrate a duck dive, explain why equalization is necessary, explain the risks of mermaiding, demonstrate how to handle a leg cramp...", but found nothing such like. And as the courses are filed under "swimming", I too think that a proper freediving course would make one more than qualified. That they do not offer equivalency lists, like they do for SCUBA, even not for their own freediving courses, is another red flag for me.

    I would maybe like to see some kind of "mermaiding badge" to proof to the pools that you know what you are doing, but am very, very weary of them being tied to commercial organizations.

    Here in Germany we have a kind of badge system for swimming (youth swimming badge, level bronze, silver and gold, also for adults, but lesser known), which are nationwide regulated by the swimming association and, I belive, the lifesaving organization. They can be issued by every "Schwimmeister", essential the pool chief lifeguard, for a really small administrative fee (5-10Ä, I believe, which includes a certificate and a stitched badge for the swimsuit). You do not need to take an official course, you just pop up, ask the lifeguard to watch you, and the guard issues it when you meet the criteria, easy as that. And that badge is accepted in every pool and even, to a certain extent, outside of Germany (sometimes there is a higher level than the basic bronze reqired).

    I could imagine someting like this, not associated with a commercial organization, but there one would have to reach out to the pools, lifeguards, swimming organizations etc.
    Maybe something like that is indeed easier to do in Germany, with the club system and a tendency for red tape and affinity to badges deeply embedded in society.

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  9. #9
    @MermanOliver we have almost the same in Austria. We have the penguin instead of the sea horse but we also have bronze to gold for swimming badges and bronze and silver for lifesaving. Gold would be the swimming instructor (minimum requirement for giving out the badges).

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    Yes we also have regulated swimming badges in Canada!

  11. #11
    Senior Member Euro Pod MermanOliver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AniaR View Post
    Yes we also have regulated swimming badges in Canada!
    Cool! Thought it was primarily an European thing, with our liking for red tape.

    Eight different levels is really quite a lot, at least when I looked at the right program, but as I said, I could very well imagine something like that for mermaids. Maybe some less levels, but accepted by the pools and lifesavers, and definitely not tied to a for-profit organization.

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    Senior Member Euro Pod Echidna's Avatar
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    thing is; it's quite easy to determine what level of swimming or diving someone is (swim such and such distance; know these styles; dive that deep outside or inside),
    but there is no clear definition on mermaiding.

    Which means everyone will come up with their own ideas to make a "certificate" for it.
    And once pools catch on that anyone is giving out certificates for this and that (no matter if someone pulled them outta their behind or not), they will start demanding people have them to let them do anything.
    And THAT means mermaids will have to shell out hundreds of $$ for stuff they already know and can already do, to be allowed somewhere.
    This happened with freediving, and it sucks.
    I hope this never comes to pass.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Euro Pod MermanOliver's Avatar
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    Certification requirements in pools *will* come, whether we like it or not. The question now only is, on whose terms. There is a saying which fits well here, "with new technology, you are either part of the steamroller or part of the road".

    In this community there is both the expertise and the positive publicity, at least of some mers, that we can approach the right persons in the lifesaving organizations, and as far as I know, some mers already tried it. The main concern of pools is liability, and as far as I know, some have already established swim tests.

    The question for a pool should mainly be, does the mer in question know what she (female version, as mers are mainly female) is doing and how to do it safely. This boils down to a quite small set of skills which can be clearly defined and tested.

    And the question now is, should we as a community just sit at the side, watch commercial organizations taking over for just making big bucks and moan our lost freedom, or actively approach the pools and lifesavers, talk to them and define those conditions on *our* terms?

    I believe if this community can approach those lifesavers and swimming non-profits, we can very well define something apart from commercial orgas. As swimming as a skill really is waning in todays kids, mermaiding could be quite a good chance of getting more kids into the pools and teaching them how to swim. If we sell it from that point of view, I guess we could find common ground with the lifeguards. In the end, we both have the same goal, no drowned mers (sorry for being so direct).

    Maybe the starting point could be a country with a growing mer community, but at the same time with well established professional mers with a good reputation with both the press and the pools (looking to Canada here). If we have a working system there that is, as I like to emphasize here, tied to the *pools* and *voluntary lifesavers* like the swimming badges and not to commercial organizations, we can start from there and use it as a reference point for other countries as well.

    So, quite a long post, but that is just my few cents here.

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    Senior Member Euro Pod Echidna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MermanOliver View Post
    Certification requirements in pools *will* come, whether we like it or not.
    not necessarily.
    There isn't any such requirement for many things which are far more dangerous than tailswimming.
    It's more the exception than the rule, and it came to pass because some organisations were clever and greedy, and the big public was gullible.

    Instead of creating a huge superfluous bureaucratic hassle, just have people sign a waiver that they're using their equipment or w/e at their own risk.
    Tadaa, pools are covered, and people can swim without having to pay for courses they dont need.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Chesapeake Pod Merman Dan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Echidna View Post
    There isn't any such requirement for many things which are far more dangerous than tailswimming
    Agreed. Still, when a pool offers "mermaid certification" courses it helps advertise mermaiding in general, which brings an influx of new mermaids and mermen!
    (Formerly known as ∆olius)

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    In Canada a lot is actually regulated, I was surprised when I started researching it.

    And the question now is, should we as a community just sit at the side, watch commercial organizations taking over for just making big bucks and moan our lost freedom, or actively approach the pools and lifesavers, talk to them and define those conditions on *our* terms?


    This is an excellent point. I try to be proactive about it in my country which is why I contacted the life saving society and keep routine communication with pools. I would really really like to spear-head some sort of standard. Not to say I would decide what the standard is, just that I'd like to be a part of the group that gets the ball rolling. I am just unsure where to start. I have already reached out to a few prominent people and organizations in Canada that are willing to help and lend their expertise.

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    Senior Member Pod of The South Mermaid_Izzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AniaR View Post
    So I have been researching this as a guy reached out to me a few provinces over who is apparently the only SSI certified mermaid instructor in Canada. As I understand it they approached a few well known pro mermaids and basically took their curriculum they used for their own mermaid school programs. As I chatted back and forth trying to research myself, it seems like my team still have far better qualifications in their freediving and swim instructor courses, than what SSI is currently offering. In my country SSI only has a small bit of the market and aren't as recognized at PADI are.

    On the one hand, I think having something like this widespread would be a good thing and help mermaids all around. Bans are starting to roll out again in different parts of my country and the main thing they cite is no regulatory body that can vouch for people's skill. So at least if someone passes a course and gets a certificate, it may satisfy that end of things. In the long run, it could lead to less bans and possibly lower insurance or even insurance that is specific to mermaid swimming (not just performing or business owning). I also think anyone giving mermaid lessons or running a mermaid school needs some sort of proof they are qualified to do so.

    But on the other hand, it sounds like SSI has very little experience in mermaiding at all and the way they created their course basically stole from others, and even despite that, isn't really all that great for mermaids. I think anyone with freediving should be considered vastly qualified. It seems to be a bit more of a money grab considering no one really recognizes them as an authority (e.g. life saving society, st john ambulance and other regulatory bodies for swimming/water safety) PADI has a few mermaid specialty courses which no one seems to recognize as having any authority either.

    That being said, if it becomes more of a thing I probably will obtain it just to say I have it.
    I completely agree with you, Raina.

    I just found out about this certification (and got into a slight argument on Instagram about it). I think it would be a great thing to have a way to help prevent the banning of swimming in tails, but I donít agree that people like SSI should set the standards for what it means to be ďcertified as a mermaidĒ

    That being said I donít think someone in your position should have to prove themselves as legitimate by obtaining this kind of certification. You literally built a fishy business and helped pioneer this community. You are one of the founders that make everything possible.

    I donít think we as mermaids should have to conform to what SSI has created. Mermaid Zari and her instructor told me that you canít be taken serious as a professional mermaid unless you have this certification and I honestly donít think it is true. I wouldnít wonít to be part of a world where hard work and perfecting your craft is trumped all because some organization unrelated to the Mer community wanted to create a certification that allows anyone off the street to gain advantage over those who have worked hard to create their platforms. Not to mention that SSI cares more about the payday than what it actually means to be a mermaid.

    I really donít understand why people in the community are supporting this, as I feel a free diving certification or the like are more beneficial to actual safety.

    I can understand creating workshops/classes to help beginners with the dolphin kick or underwater tricks, but I feel like the certification demeans the hard work a lot of Merfolk have done just in the past five years, not to mention the past 10+ years.




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    Senior Member Pod of The South Slim's Avatar
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    I totally agree with you on this. The thing is the mermaids who are pushing out the whole SSI Mermaid Certificate are blocking out the fact they are NOT the only ones in the market pushing it. NAUI has one calledNAUI Mermaid Certification Program although my view is mixed on that one. The NAUI one will actually have an instructor at Mermagiccon this year. The main reason my view is mixed is both SSI and NAUI mermaid programs are pocket driven. The con side of SSI is no one hardly heard of them outside the Americas until the whole mermaid course push and it seems to be an easy cash grab for them. Hardly their SCUBA and diving programs are being pushed year. To SSI credit, they are recognized by the rest of the world. The con side to NAUI is they always been known as the less strict and cheaper alternative to PADI (which PADI hasn't made their mermaid program yet). I could be wrong but NAUI mermaid program was created by a single mermaid. I would expect NAUI would had at least had that program created by more than one person (yes she a professional freediver) so I'm cautious at that. Beside I'm not going to deny the fact my view is influence with pettiness for personal reason as she has a friend that I totally can't stand. I personally will not support anyone who happens to be friends with that one person who brought me to my lowest point but I want anyone to follow my lead on that. Unlike NAUI and SSI, PADI is recognized worldwide and known for safety. Until PADI makes a program, I'm going to ignore them. The SCUBA certification was driven for a standard after too many people died without proper training and a few companies step up to the plate for safety which thankfully other dive shops and businesses started supporting. My main view to all of this is we don't need a common requirement. Just a proper introduction into mermaiding just so people don't do stupid things would be fine so it's not everyone fault if one person doesn't listen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mermaid_Izzy View Post
    I completely agree with you, Raina.

    I just found out about this certification (and got into a slight argument on Instagram about it). I think it would be a great thing to have a way to help prevent the banning of swimming in tails, but I don’t agree that people like SSI should set the standards for what it means to be “certified as a mermaid”

    That being said I don’t think someone in your position should have to prove themselves as legitimate by obtaining this kind of certification. You literally built a fishy business and helped pioneer this community. You are one of the founders that make everything possible.

    I don’t think we as mermaids should have to conform to what SSI has created. Mermaid Zari and her instructor told me that you can’t be taken serious as a professional mermaid unless you have this certification and I honestly don’t think it is true. I wouldn’t won’t to be part of a world where hard work and perfecting your craft is trumped all because some organization unrelated to the Mer community wanted to create a certification that allows anyone off the street to gain advantage over those who have worked hard to create their platforms. Not to mention that SSI cares more about the payday than what it actually means to be a mermaid.

    I really don’t understand why people in the community are supporting this, as I feel a free diving certification or the like are more beneficial to actual safety.

    I can understand creating workshops/classes to help beginners with the dolphin kick or underwater tricks, but I feel like the certification demeans the hard work a lot of Merfolk have done just in the past five years, not to mention the past 10+ years.




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  19. #19
    Senior Member Pod of The South Mermaid_Izzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slim View Post
    I totally agree with you on this. The thing is the mermaids who are pushing out the whole SSI Mermaid Certificate are blocking out the fact they are NOT the only ones in the market pushing it. NAUI has one calledNAUI Mermaid Certification Program although my view is mixed on that one. The NAUI one will actually have an instructor at Mermagiccon this year. The main reason my view is mixed is both SSI and NAUI mermaid programs are pocket driven. The con side of SSI is no one hardly heard of them outside the Americas until the whole mermaid course push and it seems to be an easy cash grab for them. Hardly their SCUBA and diving programs are being pushed year. To SSI credit, they are recognized by the rest of the world. The con side to NAUI is they always been known as the less strict and cheaper alternative to PADI (which PADI hasn't made their mermaid program yet). I could be wrong but NAUI mermaid program was created by a single mermaid. I would expect NAUI would had at least had that program created by more than one person (yes she a professional freediver) so I'm cautious at that. Beside I'm not going to deny the fact my view is influence with pettiness for personal reason as she has a friend that I totally can't stand. I personally will not support anyone who happens to be friends with that one person who brought me to my lowest point but I want anyone to follow my lead on that. Unlike NAUI and SSI, PADI is recognized worldwide and known for safety. Until PADI makes a program, I'm going to ignore them. The SCUBA certification was driven for a standard after too many people died without proper training and a few companies step up to the plate for safety which thankfully other dive shops and businesses started supporting. My main view to all of this is we don't need a common requirement. Just a proper introduction into mermaiding just so people don't do stupid things would be fine so it's not everyone fault if one person doesn't listen.
    Thank you for all this beautiful insight.

    I have being trying to engage in friendly debate on instagram, but Iím not sure itís going so well.

    I think it is a really good idea for there to be classes that teach mermaiding safety, but not ones that ďcertifyĒ mermaids as mermaids.

    The way certain mermaids on instagram (and their smart remarks) explained this certification to me is that if you donít have it, you arenít legitimate. They also informed that some companies are requiring it in addition to a free diving certification. It seems really odd to me as I feel the mer community has always made its own rules and told society how things works and not the other way around.

    From what I can tell the SSI class teaches the dolphin kick and certain underwater tricks (like flips, bubble kisses, etc.) along with generalized safety. I think that Mers that have been doing this for years shouldnít have to be certified to prove their sufficiency in these areas especially if they are certified in free diving.

    I also see it from the view point that other entertainers donít have to be certified to perform so why should we?

    I get the spill about liability and safety, but what sets the Mermaid certificationís safety qualifications apart from the safety learned in other underwater classes? In my understanding there isnít really a difference. I just feel like itís a money gimmick because it has mermaid attached to the title.

    If people want to become mermaids or mermaids want to improve their craft, we should create classes and workshops for that not certifications. I donít think a ďmermaid certificationĒ class should be able to trump years of experience, especially if itís combined with a different underwater certification (like free diving).

    Someone shouldnít be able to earn a title through a class (that takes a few days) that other people have worked long and hard to create. In my opinion someone fresh off the street with a mermaid certification would never come close to competing with a veteran. This is why I donít understand why the question of getting one is even debated or where companies got the idea to make it a requirement.

    (Side note: While googling Mermaid Certification, I came across this place (that isnít nationally recognized), but list ballon tying skills as one of the requirements you must learn in the class.)

    This whole thing just really makes me sick. It doesnít help ease my conscious that the latest mermaid to push it has this huge platform and isnít even on the MerNetwork. To me it seems like the people who arenít on here, have a skewed idea of the community. But thatís just my opinion.


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    I don’t think we as mermaids should have to conform to what SSI has created. Mermaid Zari and her instructor told me that you can’t be taken serious as a professional mermaid unless you have this certification and I honestly don’t think it is true.


    It's def not true, this is a brand new thing and not recognized by ANYONE but themselves.

    NAUI has one called NAUI Mermaid Certification Program although my view is mixed on that one.


    NAUI is the same thing. All these things are being pushed like they're legit but even mermaids sign up to teach PADI courses on mermaiding and THOSE aren't recognized either, they're just an extra discipline that anyone can customize and teach. They're all being presented like mermaids NEED them and they are officially recognized but there is no governing body recognizing them.

    That being said I don’t think someone in your position should have to prove themselves as legitimate by obtaining this kind of certification. You literally built a fishy business and helped pioneer this community. You are one of the founders that make everything possible.


    I personally haven't seen a mermaid course yet that offers anything all that different from taking a full free diving course and indeed it seems the freediving courses offer much more. I wouldn't be opposed to taking a course if one becomes standard, purely to set an example, but I appreciate you rallying behind me haha. On my side of Canada it's not an issue, but I know out west they're not letting mers swim in tails in pools until a regulatory body (which for us is the life saving society) can determine a standard.

    I get the spill about liability and safety, but what sets the Mermaid certification’s safety qualifications apart from the safety learned in other underwater classes? In my understanding there isn’t really a difference. I just feel like it’s a money gimmick because it has mermaid attached to the title.


    Yeah I def agree on this. Some of the people giving mermaid certifications do not have freediving certification themselves and that's what worries me. I don't think anyone should be teaching anyone else about breath holding at all if they do not have INSTRUCTOR LEVEL in freediving.

    Someone shouldn’t be able to earn a title through a class (that takes a few days) that other people have worked long and hard to create.


    The title thing - you hit the nail on the head - it's really starting to become a money grab on the mer community with people taking pageants and contests being judged by people in NO POSITION to judge underwater skill. I remember last year one of these many mermaid award companies handed out titles to anyone who paid a fee lol.

    It doesn’t help ease my conscious that the latest mermaid to push it has this huge platform and isn’t even on the MerNetwork. To me it seems like the people who aren’t on here, have a skewed idea of the community. But that’s just my opinion.


    I have noticed a trend in the past 2 years in the mer community of a few mers trying to become well known by pushing 'knowledge" that is often wrong or downright dangerous. I am not sure who you're referring to but I personally have seen a few mers now who barely have any experience, lie about how many years they've been at it and dole out "advice" just to get attention and try to increase their klout. Indeed one mer offering courses was working for a company where she went out in the ocean alone and had no assistant (wrangler or safety) of any kind. Another tells people to use a wheelbarrow instead of a wheelchair. I think some people have seen that the education route has worked well for me but they don't realize what went into it before something goes online to help others. I've literally participated in MULTIPLE safety studies.

    But, I don't feel people like this will last long term, I have seen the mer community go in cycles. There's always someone with a proverbial megaphone trying to lead everyone with wrong information and after a few years the community catches on and turns them out. It's just scary because it puts people at risk of real harm. It lowers the industry standard.

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