There have been a few articles circulating recently about the potential “lethal consequences” for the new mermaid fad and being called a “gimmick”. As we both work within the mermaid profession we were horrified of the scaremongering and incorrect information being circulated, and felt the need to get the truth out there.
The statement of “I’m a Mermaid” is usually followed by a stunned silence and look of utter confusion, followed by a look of fear once you explain that you actually swim with your legs together in a mermaid tail. Most people have never heard of it before and couldn’t imagine doing something so “dangerous”. If not a lot of people know much about mermaiding and have never tried it before, how can it be so easily branded as dangerous and refused participation by parents and by pools and clubs all over?
Is it really as dangerous as people initially perceive or is it just the fear of the unknown that’s leading this new activities' reputation?
What is mermaiding? The activity of mermaiding is where one would step both feet into a large flipper, shaped somewhat like a dolphin tail, called a monofin, and then use a material, most commonly a swimwear type material to stretch over the fin and then pulled up to the person’s waist, giving the look and illusion of not having 2 limbs, but one: a mermaid tail. There are other materials for mermaid tails as people get more advanced in their mermaid training/practice, however we will stick with the material skins for now as they are what’s recommended for newbies and are much more easily accessible.
The skin specifically is the part that makes the difference of whether or not a sport is classed as mermaiding or not. There are other water activities and sports that use a monofin without the legs being covered; and we must stress that this is not mermaiding.
Monofins come from the sport of freediving (the sport of diving at depth using nothing but holding your breath) and the reason for mermaiding was due to people mistaking freedivers, who use the monofin to swim with more power than human legs and as little energy used as possible in order to retain as much oxygen as possible in the body, to increase the length of time of their dive.
Tragically a young British man lost his life in Greece using a monofin whilst snorkelling, spurring the recent damning of mermaiding in several articles. It is our understanding that Harry Byatt, 19, was a snorkelling instructor and although was using a monofin and mask; was not wearing a mermaid tail at the time of this tragic accident. How then has this then been the grounds of mermaiding being slammed and suddenly classed as dangerous? How is this anything to do with mermaiding at all?
Like anything that is new, there are concerns about what risks are involved and how safe the activity is. As with any water-based activities there are additional risks, whether you are an experienced professional or a complete novice, as being underwater isn’t a human’s natural environment and therefore can be very dangerous.
Yet there seems to be more fear when it comes to mermaiding due to a stigma that it is more unsafe and dangerous than other water-based activities. But really, it is no more dangerous than some floatation aids used for children and even babies or even a lot of other sports that are deemed as “normal”.
Sometimes as a parent and professional swim teacher and tutor, I’m amazed when I go to the local pool or on holiday and see children being donned up like the abominable snowman with armbands, a rubber ring and swim jacket. The logic by parents for this is due to fear; fear that their child may drown so they want to ensure this never happens, but this over buoyancy could indeed be a parent's worst nightmare. All these aids restrict the child’s movement and as they fight to propel themselves forward in the water there is a real risk of them toppling forward face down and not being able to rebound back up again, forcing their heads under water. Many others also use baby seats; yet again there is a risk that a child may topple forward with legs in the air and face in the water. Whilst baby seats give a parent free hands, they offer very little benefit to a child as half their body is in water and the other half in a different temperature of the air. The actual device itself does not offer much support to a young baby’s spine, neck or head.
Yet no one questions these swimming aids, but each and every one of them carries their own dangers. Yes having your feet strapped in comes at risk, and like any other sport activity, proceeding without having any training significantly increases those risks. And as with any other water based sport; you NEVER swim alone, and every course puts so much emphasis on this, which is another reason why courses are so important. Other sports such as skiing come with risks, particularly snowboarding where your feet are also bound and you descend a mountain side at speed, but yet this is not slammed and branded as lethal or a fad. Instead there are measures in place that offer the proper training so you can slowly increase your ability, knowledge and experience level to enable you to take on more challenging and slightly more risky experiences and routes.
Other sports have risks that could be classed as “fatal” too such as Motorsports: children take part in these from toddler age and could lead to terrible injuries if not completed with the proper care and training. Even adults in motor racing still come to injury, and sometimes even the professional end up in incidents that are fatal, but this does not lead to the sport being slammed or people actively discouraged from doing it. In 2015 the BBC reported that motorcyle injuries and deaths on the road were at a 7 year high, yet it is acceptable and legal for a 16 year old to get a license to ride a moped after having a 1 day course, a whole year before being able to take lessons in a car with an instructor who more often than not has controls of the vehicle, where is the outrage and slander on any of this? None of these dangerous activities are being given the same negative treatment and slander that mermaiding is receiving due to the terrible, tragic death of someone who was not even mermaiding, when they often come with just as many risks and dangers.
Are we really going to continue to raise our children and attempt to live in a risk adverse world cocooning ourselves from every single danger life throws at us?
There are numerous academic articles written on allowing our children and us, as adults, to experience risk to enable us to become more confident, to accept challenge, to celebrate effort and achievements and most importantly to boost our self esteem so we can become the best we can be in the world of life. Our job as educators, as instructors and as parents is to minimize the risk by ensuring children who wear a mermaid tail are at least six years of age, an age which has been deemed safe due to them having the strength to swim with the extension to their levers with the monofin. Children, as well as adults need to be able to swim to a certain standard and complete certain swimming skills, but most importantly anyone who swims in a mermaid tail should always supervised and supported just in the same way as the non swimmer is whilst being taught to swim using a float. More experienced swimmers still require a swimming buddy to keep you safe.
So what are the real risks of mermaiding?
Mermaiding does has the additional risk of having the feet and legs bound, yes, however like other water-based sports, education is the key to minimising that risk. With proper training and care mermaiding can be enjoyed as a low risk activity , without all this unnecessary branding as being particularly dangerous. With the correct care and attention mermaiding is no more risky than swimming with floats or aids or even snorkelling, and arguably less dangerous than sports such as Freediving, where participants have been safely using a monofin for decades.
So this takes us back to a mermaid tail, which consists of a tail joining the legs together and a monofin for the feet. Yes, there are risks just like with any piece of swimming equipment in the wrong hands but there are numerous benefits as well. There are many ‘fads’ that have come and gone over the years but swimming like a mermaid or merman using professional equipment carries many benefits, social and physical and we believe this is an activity that is here to stay and growing at a rapid rate. Whilst many see the ‘binding of the legs’ together in a tail as a danger, this actually offers a state of balance and provides equilibrium with the legs in the water and has already been of benefit to one young mermaid who suffers with hypermobility as she has become stronger on land and in the water.
As well as being a strength building activity that helps with joint mobility, mermaiding, which is a low impact sport, due to the medium of water, will help with a stronger core, flexibility, balance, co-ordination, increase stamina and speed as well as fitness and cardiovascular improvement. For children, it has long been documented by many theorists including those like Piaget and Vygotsky that the importance of play and imagination will help develop a child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical development. For adults the world of mermaiding allows us to have a release, forget about our day to day life and offers an escape to a place of imagination drawing us back to our own childhoods. In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “we don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing”. Mermaiding is a safe, fun, physical, imaginative activity like no other and is no more dangerous than using any other piece of equipment in the water with the correct supervision and knowledge. So as long as you use quality equipment, have the proper training and never swim alone, there is no reason for mermaiding to be any more unsafe than any other activity in the water, or even other sports where your legs and feet are bound like snowboarding.
By Lisa Bousted & Jessica Pennington
Mermaids UK Merfolk UK
Mermaids UK is a company providing mermaid experiences and instructor courses throughout the UK and internationally, endorsed by the YMCA Awards.
Merfolk UK is an organisation that arranges social and networking events for Mermaid fans and professionals alike to explore what the world or mermaiding has to offer.
Every year we dump several million tonnes of rubbish into our oceans – around 50% of the plastic we use is thrown away after just one use. Seeing as most plastics are recyclable this is an absurd waste of one of our most useful resources… And it has a devastating effect on our planet’s eco-system, the ocean in particular!
Here at Merfolk UK we want to do everything we can to protect and heal our oceans and seas and would like to encourage you to do the same!! So here are some everyday changes you can make to protect the oceans:
1) Plastic bottles – making a bottle takes up 6 times as much water than the container can hold and they take around 400 years to degrade in the ocean! So what can you do? The answer is simple…. Invest in a reusable bottle!!! Here are some of our favourites and the plastic ones are all BPA free #winning : · https://www.paperchase.co.uk/purple-water-bottle.html · http://www.reusablebottle.co.uk/whats-best-for-me Also remember that the cups coffee shops give you are rarely recyclable so if you’re a coffee fiend grab yourself a reusable coffee cup – most chains will also take some money off your coffee for this so you will quickly make your money back as well as saving the planet!!
2) Plastic Straws: the USA manages to go through 500 million plastic straws a day… with a population of 300 million that’s pretty crazy! So what can you do? Well just stop using straws, if you order at a restaurant ask for it without, if it’s in a take away cup just take off the lid (or ask them to put it in your reusable cup J)
3) Stop buying shrink wrapped veg like broccoli! They charge you more for this service and it really isn’t necessary – also think about whether you need to put every piece of vegetable you buy into a plastic bag but when you do really need one – use them as a bin bag in your toilet, reuse and recycle people!!
4) Make healthy sustainable seafood choices! http://www.goodfishguide.org/?gclid=Cj0KEQjwkZfLBRCzg-69tJy84N8BEiQAffAwqqUuZt91A5uXF8Uf3sRd_nAHWAZKVZ3h5mDWq3v5kQkaArqz8P8HAQ
5) Help to clean your local beach/waterway – The Marine Conservation Society holds lots of events each year in an effort to clear our beaches find your closest one here: http://www.mcsuk.org/beachwatch/greatbritishbeachclean If you don’t live in the UK a quick google will help you find beach cleaning events in your area!
6) Spread the word! Once you’ve made these changes and committed to a more ocean friendly lifestyle encourage your friends and family to do the same! Every person who signs up for this fight will make a difference to our plant!
How one small UK family started a Mermaid tail craze that spread across the World!
When I started Uramermaid, it was to help my daughter fulfil a dream she had. She was 8 years old and knew what she wanted to be. We've always taught our children that dreams most definitely do come true and that if being a Mermaid was a dream of hers, then it was a dream of ours. After all, practically everything we use daily, is only here because of people's dreams. Several years on. All of us here at Uramermaid are hoping to inspire others to follow their dreams and passions in life. and so the story began...
It all started on our annual family holiday in summer of 2009 down in Cornwall, on the southwestern coast of Great Britain. On evening, we were out walking along one of the many beaches in the area when we were treated to a beautiful sun set. It had been a fantastic day and we just weren't ready for it to end. Eventually though, the night was upon us and the sky revealed an extra brightly lit Moon. We had found a really charming sandy cove area of the beach, when my daughter decided to take a stroll down to the water’s edge. As I watched her standing there, I happened to hear her chanting some words of magic. Something about wanting to be a Mermaid, just like her favourite TV Characters from the Australian TV Series ‘H2O Just Add Water’. By the time we arrived home from our holiday, I had though Of a way to help make her 'Magical Wish' come true!
After a lot of drawing and many many attempts on my the sewing machine, that Christmas, my daughter received her very first Fully Swimmable Holographic Mermaid Tail, made from very colourful and sparkly fabric to reflect the moon. Once my daughter saw my little creative Christmas present for the first time, she was so excited she couldn't put it on fast enough. Sitting on the floor waving her mermaid tail fin up and down, she cried out, "Mummy. I feel like a Mermaid!". And her love of her gift didn't end there. She told all her friends about the magical gift she had received and before I knew it, I was making another mermaid tail. And another. And another. I soon realized my daughter was not the only person who wanted to feel like a Mermaid
Based here in the UK, we have been making children’s dreams come true since 2009, with an ever growing range of truly uniquely designed mermaid outfits and matching accessories for children between the ages of 3 and 13 years and Adults. Our Mermaid tales are not mass produced and still hand made in Britain where the mermaid craze began. And we are able to custom make mermaid tails to help get a better fit for the many unique shapes that mermaids are. Whether it is extra short, tall, slim or curvy, you can swim in one of our beautiful fabric mermaid tails by inserting a 'Monofin' inside the tail, (Adult Supervision Required). Our Great Britain Olympic monofins come in 2 sizes. One called 'Kids' for aged 3-9 year olds and the other fin called 'Teen+' for ages 10 years and right through to Adults!
The moment you put on one of our tails, you'll feel like a Mermaid. Each mermaid tail is handmade from 'Magic and Myth' for an Extra Special Gift!
Love and Kisses
Mermaid Lolly x
We are happy to supply items for reviews/bloggers and would LOVE to hear from journalists needing images for articles!
Being a professional mermaid sounds like a pretty awesome job. And it is! But most people only ever see the glamorous side of the profession – mermaids lounging in hot tubs and looking beautiful in underwater photographs. The magical mermaidens of Merlesque Mermaids UK have been performing across the UK since 2012 - and will be appearing at the Merfolk UK convention with their killer mermaid cabaret act, to lift the lid on the secrets of mermaid life! Until then, here is our list of the top five things you never knew about life as a professional mermaid...
Merlesque will be appearing at the Merfolk UK convention on Friday 31st March 2017, so please pop along to our stall for a chat, a song, and to see our awesome collection of mermaid accessories for sale. In the meantime, find out more about Merlesque at our website www.realmermaids.co.uk or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RealMermaidsUK
Have you always wanted to be a mermaid? Or perhaps you’re already part way there but you need the qualifications and knowledge to progress into a professional?
Whatever your reasons, those with the passion to bring out their inner mermaid need to book their place at the UK’s first Mermaid Camp!
Hire A Mermaid UK have teamed up with Learn2Freedive and Paul Dale Photography to offer a packed weekend of Mermaiding magic for an astounding price!
But before I get into exactly what’s on offer, let me tell you a little about the organisers…
Hire A Mermaid UK is the brainchild of Grace Page, also known as Mermaid Grace; the company is the UK’s fastest growing mermaid for hire agency.
Grace’s love of mermaids has been present all her life and her professional mermaid career took a giant leap back in September 2015 when she qualified as an AIDA** Open Water Freediver with FreediveUK – She also earned a **Mermaid Specialist Certificate! Grace owns many tails, including a green silicone tail from Mernation.
Mermaid Grace is quickly becoming one of the most well-known mermaids in the UK having appeared in multiple newspapers, magazines and even on BBC’s The Apprentice! She also won Miss Mermaid UK 2016 and represented the UK in Miss Mermaid International where she came 5th against other professional mermaids from around the world – she has since been appointed the national director of Miss Mermaid 2017.
Learn2Freedive is the freediving group established in 1999 and although they are based in Manchester they have instructors all over the UK. Steve Millard is in charge of this amazing group of professionals dedicated to spreading the love of freediving whilst keeping the sport safe.
Paul Dale Photography is run by; you guessed it, Paul Dale! He takes amazing photographs both in and out of the water catering to models portfolios, weddings and even mermaids! Paul is a Dive Master Instructor and owns top of the range underwater camera equipment so his images below the surface are always wonderful!
So how much I hear you cry!? You’re almost there! Take a look at everything you get as part of the course, including it’s value – and then take a look at how much you actually pay!
- Expert tuition from qualified Freedivers teaching you how to correctly swim in a mermaid tail and safely hold your breath including AIDA** certification for those who pass the required tests! (As well as specialist certificates from HAMerUK)
Valued At - £450pp
- Craft classes showing you how to make mermaid tops and accessories
Valued At - £60pp
- Waterproof Mermaid Makeup Masterclass! (With free samples!)
Valued at £35pp
- You will be taught underwater posing techniques by Miss Mermaid UK
Valued at £50pp
- Underwater photo/video shoot!
Valued at £150pp
- A 3 night all-inclusive stay in luxury surroundings
Valued at £400+pp
- Evening seminars for those wishing to go professional (free time for those who don't!)
Valued at £75pp
- And most importantly you get to spend time with like-minded mermaids and have fun!
Priceless! Total Value - £1220pp
Price you pay - £499pp That's a MASSIVE saving of £721!
So for the price of staying in the luxury accommodation on its own you also get everything you need to start your journey to being a stunning Mermaid!
The first camp is taking place 9th-12th June 2017 in Penrith Cumbria!
Ready to book? Just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you all the information you need! And don’t panic – it doesn’t have to be paid in one go! We are offering payment schemes for those who want to pay bit by bit.
Mermaid Grace and will be at this years Merfolk UK Convention! So if you have any questions about the camp please feel free to come and speak to us.
It’s a pleasure to be invited to attend the first Merfolk Convention and I look forward to meeting fellow ocean-lovers. I belong to the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), the UK’s leading charity which works to protect our seas, shores and wildlife in order to protect and save threatened wildlife before it becomes lost forever.
I have always loved the coast as a kid from making sand castles, playing chicken with the waves and my all time favourite – rock pooling! Whether we actively swim in the sea, walk on its shores regularly or admire from afar everyone has a link to and a reliance on the sea. As Merfolkers, you already have an amazing connection to the sea – very few people view the ocean from under the waves and it is a unique environment – one which is worth protecting.
The UK has a rich and diverse coastline – over 11,000 miles of it, but almost nowhere in UK seas is marine wildlife safe from harm. Only 0.1% of the seas around the UK are protected and there is one marine reserve where there is a blanket “no take” zone – Lundy Island.
Our oceans are such precious places but the fact is, they are in trouble.
The pressures facing our oceans and wildlife are growing – marine pollution, discarded litter, over-fishing and exploitation of marine resources are just a few of the problems. Now is a hugely important time for marine conservation and although it is a grim picture to paint we can - and we are – doing something about it.
We are working to establish vital marine conservation zones where wildlife can recover and flourish. Our oceans are also sinks for CO2 - marine plants and coral algae lock this up and help reduce carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. We are lobbying the government further and campaigning for Bottle Deposit Return Schemes, banning of microbeads and for an increase in the number of marine protected areas/reserves. We are involving more fantastic volunteers to help on our Beachwatch programme, survey for wildlife, become a Sea Champion, get involved in Seasearch. We are finding more amazing supporters to fundraise and more members to make us a stronger and louder voice for marine conservation. We are spreading the word about marine education and promoting our Cool Seas initiative to increase awareness.
Everyone has a part to play in keeping our oceans healthy and understanding how they work is key to keeping this seascape alive and functioning for years to come to be enjoyed by Merfolk and others alike. We can take action to protect our watery world - we are privileged to have some of the best spots for diving on the planet. If we work together to stop our oceans from becoming dumping grounds for waste, we can keep it this way.
Come and visit me at the MCS stand for a dose of optimism and see what you can do to help.
Hi everybody, my name is Samantha and I am the founder of Merthology creations.
In case you didn’t know about Merthology Creations just yet, we are a company that designs and produces silicone mermaid tails, tops and lots of other amazing mermaid accessories. I’ve been producing these items for almost two and a half years now. When I decided to make my first silicone tail, I spent almost a year researching methods and materials, prior to pouring my first silicone mix back in May 2014, to make sure I had the most durable and comfortable materials possible.
Like so many, I desperately wanted a tail, but could not afford the prices of the companies based in the USA. I therefore decided to make my own tail as I had excellent technical help in the shape of my engineer Dad. Things have just snowballed from there, being asked for one, then another and so on. Now I produce a steadily increasing number of tails, and other items every year. I have even sent tails and tops to Hawaii, the USA, Spain as well as plenty within the UK.
I am, over time, slowly building up my stock of Flukes Designs (5 to date), but I do love a challenge when someone wants a custom design or something completely different. I will happily talk design, colours and shapes with each customer until you see just what you have imagined, first on paper, then in the finished silicone product. Nothing is too much trouble.
Everyone is different, so, every tail is different, so that its tailor made to get the right hug fit, and length from waist to ankles. It is the same with tops, we are all different, so, each one is made to measure.
I am constantly looking for new ideas, so, as and when time permits, I sit down and work on new designs, for both: tops, tails and flukes. These you will eventually see on my Facebook page ‘Merthology Creations’ along with some of my past projects that I post from time to time.
Currently in the pipeline is a mer-pouch and belt for those little things we all ‘need’. I have also just finished the design for a backpack to help you carry around your tail with ease. I will have one of these at the Merthology Creations stand at the convention.
I go through a lot of trouble to produce a tail that appears as seamless as is possible (but I wouldn’t have it any other way!). You won’t see ugly glue lines down the outside of my tails.
I will be bringing my own personal tail to the convention for everyone to see. It has been dragged over barnacle covered rocks, hauled up the side of boats, transported to Spain and back, as well as around the UK, and it is still as good as the day I made it. All my wearable products are made from Platinum cured skin safe silicone; I do not cut corners on materials.
I will have a selection of tops and accessories on show at the convention, but if you do not see whatever it is that you’re looking for, just ask. If you can think it, I can probably make it.
I can also repair or replace broken monofins and re – airbrush damaged areas on tails. Again, if in doubt, then please, just ask. Please visit my Facebook page where you can find my contact information or just click here.
Mermaids are beautiful; we all know that! But none of us would want to be a mermaid with ugly chipped nails now, would we? We also know that salt and chlorine can damage nail polish, acrylic extensions and gel polishes leaving us with the options to either ‘go natural’ on our nails or commit to a life of retouching daily if we want them to look fabulous.
However, there is another solution... ‘NEVER!’ I hear you cry, ‘IMPOSSIBLE!’ But, merfolk of the UK, like the sitar from Moulin Rouge, I only speak the truth.
Jamberry Nail wraps are not only hard wearing and do not chip, but they also have NO drying time and hundreds of awesomely cute designs. Nail wraps are thin vinyl sheets that are pressure and heat activated to adhere to your nail for a long lasting and beautiful look. They are made with durable materials, so smudges and streaks are never an issue, and can last for up to two weeks on fingernails and four weeks on toes (obviously not a problem for merfolk). The wraps are: Non-toxic; free from the following chemicals which are known to damage nails; Dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, or Camphor; they’re easy to apply at-home (*on the surface unfortunately, not under water... but trust me ladies and gents, if I can do these YOU can apply them too); they require ZERO dry time and are durable for long-lasting wear without chipping, peeling or fading. The wraps are also WATER RESISTANT, once they are on the nail, and do not react to salt and chlorine found in most Merpeople homes.
Jamberry also have completely beautiful designs like the ones below, which utterly fit in with a Mermaid colour scheme. (From left to right: Mermail Tails, Bubbler, Lagoon, Mint Sparkle, High Tide, Tidepool, Lakeside and Sapphire).
Those of you that have ever been to a salon to get your nails done will know that it can become very expensive. It can cost up to around £30 every time you go, and they recommend that this happens every 2-3 weeks. Jamberry are £15 per sheet and are ALWAYS Buy 3 Get 1 Free (4 sheets for £45) and each sheet is the equivalent to 2 Manicures and 2 Pedicures, so they’re also great value for money!
Jamberry are not just about nail wraps either! They also offer a range of sumptuous hand care products such as Nourish and Quench - great to soften up hands and feet after a day in the water.
Think you might be interested? Want to try out Jamberry nail wraps? Contact Marianne Cox or Victoria Coltart for a free sample. Host a party to let your Mermaid friends know about this great new product to get yourself some more freebies. Think you might become a JAMADDICT? Join our expanding team of passionate and focused consultants.
FB - Marianne’s Jamberry’s 07426063929
FB - Mummy V’s Jam Wraps