Mermaid craze fires alert about its flip side
MERMAIDING enthusiasts in Townsville have been warned of the risks by Surf Life Saving Queensland Townsville lifeguard supervisor Russell Blanchard.
The Townsville Mer Pod has been swimming in public pools like the Tobruk Memorial Baths since the group formed early last year.
Inspired by similar groups around the world, the group argues “mermaiding” is a creative form of socialising and a great form of physical activity.
But Mr Blanchard said newcomers needed to be cautious.
“If there are young children doing it unsupervised or weak swimmers or people who can’t swim, obviously there is a risk there,” he said.
The cheaper spandex tails, considered most suitable for beginners, are light and stretchy, made from swimsuit material. When the mermaids graduate to more experienced swimmers, they wear a neoprene tail that weighs about 2.5-3kg when wet.
The 15-member pod recognised there are some dangers associated with the activity.
Head mermaid Caitlin Stubbs, 17, said it would be foolish to not acknowledge there were risks for inexperienced swimmers.
Mr Blanchard said supervision and experience were key to ensuring the hobby was safe.
“When they first do it, do it in shallow waters or just sitting up to get used to the piece of equipment they are using before they start jumping in water and attempting to swim like a mermaid,” he said.
“As long as there is someone there, keeping an eye on one another, it will stop anything going pear shaped.”