15 Jan 2016

Council wants mermaids out of public pools

11:59 am on 15 January 2016

Aucklanders wanting to use mermaid swimming costumes have been thrown in the deep end after the council banned their use in its public pools.

Mermaid tails have gained in popularity.

Mermaid tails have gained in popularity. Photo: 123RF

The council says mermaid suits, which encase the legs in a fish tail, have been a popular Christmas gift but have been found to be unsafe for use in public pools.

Auckland Council leisure manager Rob McGee said the tails were causing concerns here and in Australia and had already been banned from public pools in the UK.

"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 said.

He said watching out for children wearing them was proving distracting for lifeguards.

"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, so 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."

When the Stanmore Bay Pool and Leisure Centre broke the news to its patrons on its Facebook page, spirits were not dampened.

"Dangerous stupid toy, water is dangerous enough without restricting the poor kids legs....." Kelly Davis wrote.

"I saw an adult with one of these on Tuesday afternoon at the Leisure Centre. They look so cool. But you would need to be a competent swimmer. The Council has to ensure the safety of all swimmers and they can't if less confident swimmers are using them." Felicity Buche said.

But some were left floundering trying to comprehend why the rule would be put in place.

Swimming against the tide, Facebook user Rachel McDonald expressed her frustration at the new restriction.

"Well this absolutely sucks. There is a website associated with the sale of these products which issues both swimming tests before being allowed to use them, followed by swimming tests in the fin before you are allowed to let them swim.

"So following all safety precautions and having an adult getting into the pool with them still isn't enough? The swim stroke used for them is the same as butterfly and you do not have to be under water to do butterfly. If an adult is not in the pool too then maybe. this is PC gone wrong."