Allison is a digital reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times

Swimming pool ban shows mermaid tails not toys

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Shannon Avery said mermaid tails should be considered sports equipment not toys. Photo/file
Shannon Avery said mermaid tails should be considered sports equipment not toys. Photo/file

Mermaid tails were banned from Bay Venues pools this week, due to safety concerns about the toy, but a mermaid tail advocate says they should not be considered a toy in the first place.

Instructor and founder of Mount MerSwim School Shannon Avery, supported the decision to ban the use of mermaid tails at Bay Venues pools, saying it emphasised the fact that mermaid tails should not be treated as toys.

Currently the tails, which bind children's legs from the waist or chest down with a mono-fin for their feet, were being sold as novelty toys, she said, when they needed to be sold as sports equipment.

"It needs to be taught. It's not something you can stick on your kids' feet and chuck them in the water. If you take your kid snowboarding, which is recognised as a fairly dangerous sport, you would never stick your kid on a snowboard and push them down the hill.

"Mermaid tails need to be viewed in the same way," Ms Avery said.

Ms Avery said banning the tails completely would disappoint a lot of people, who had bought them and learned how to use them safely and properly.

"I have two girls myself who will be very disappointed they will not be able to use their tails in the pools. It would be a real shame for it to be gone completely."

She said a complete ban might encourage people to use them in open water which was extremely dangerous.

Ms Avery hoped to talk with Bay Venues about holding special mermaid tail swimming sessions, with close supervision and in an area of the pools which would not endanger other swimmers.

BaySwim manager Simon Leach said they had considered having sessions for people to swim with mermaid tails but would have to discuss it further before anything was decided.

He said banning the tails from the pools showed the public they were not safe to use without one-on-one supervision, which Bay Venues could not provide.

Mr Leach strongly discouraged anyone from using the tails in open water, saying currents, poor visibility and the lack of a side wall or lane rope to hold on to made it very risky.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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