Mermaid suits, swimming suits that encase the legs and include a fish tail, were one of the most coveted gifts of Christmas. But they are deemed unsafe for use in public swimming pools and are proving a distraction to pool lifeguards, according to the New Zealand Recreation Association.
“We are all for everyone enjoying their time in the pool and would like them to do so safely,” says Auckland Council Manager, Leisure, Rob McGee.
“Mermaid tails are definitely causing some concerns both here and in Australia, and have already been banned from public pool use in the United Kingdom. While they are designed for competent swimmers to use in the water, even the manufacturers recommend one-to-one supervision, which we can’t give in public pools,” he says.
Watching out for children in mermaid suits distracts lifeguards from their main role of scanning the pool for signs of any swimmers in trouble and being ready to respond and perform a rescue.
“So far, most pools have only seen one or two mermaids, but given overseas experiences the focus on isolated swimmers puts other pool users at risk. We are asking parents to keep the mermaid tails for home pools where they can have the direct one-on-one level of parental supervision,” says Rob McGee.