What pool is it that I see you practice in? I'm having a hard time finding a pool that I can use my fin in :(
The pool that I practice in is a pool that is an amenity of the apartment complex I live in. Luckily for me the pool is open pretty much all day, every day! Sadly I will have to move out of this place come fall, and then honestly I have no idea where I’ll be able to swim.
Unfortunately it’s becoming harder and harder to find pools that still allow mermaiding :( Different pools have different rules- some of them don’t allow cameras, some of them don’t allow tails, some of them don’t allow any fins of any kind. Sadly, as mermaiding is becoming more and more popular, more and more places are banning mermaid tails. There are several mers I know that sold their tails (some of them had silicone tails too) because all of the pools and beaches in their area banned mermaid tails after it gained popularity, and they then had absolutely nowhere to swim. Lots of mers I know have to drive an hour or more to go to a pool that allows it.
I think the best thing to do, for public pools and beaches especially, is to go up to the life guards and educate them that your tail in fact works as a swimming AID and a piece of water equipment. They don’t know what it is and what it’s made of, they just know it looks like something heavy that binds your legs together, and you want to swim in it. Let them know it has a strong propelling fin in the bottom, and is basically a wet suit (if it’s made of neoprene) and can actually help you stay warm and buoyant. Heck with neoprene and latex tails sometimes they’re so buoyant if you were drowning or passed out it’d probably float you to the surface. With other materials let them know that it’s boyant in the water (latex) neutrally buoyant in the water and won’t make you sink or float (silicone), or is light weight when wet and swim wear material (lycra/spandex). If need be tell them you can demonstrate that you can swim strongly in it (such as a swim test). Offer to wear a life vest for the first leg of the test, to ease their mind while you show them how well you can swim above water- then if they are satisfied, you can remove the vest for the rest of the test. Education and awareness, right? :)
You can also talk to the manager of the pool and offer to sign a legal waiver form that will hold them harmless for anything that may happen to you or others due to you swimming in a tail. That way you or anyone else on your behalf, can’t sue if harm comes to you while swimming in the tail. Also, if something happens that you harm someone else, that that party can not hold the pool responsible, but instead you will be held responsible (if they had grounds to sue, they would sue you rather than the pool). If you observe proper safety this should never be an issue. Sometimes if managers have this signed form from you on file, they will let you swim. The vast majority of pools ban tails becuase they don’t want to be held responsible if something goes wrong, and people swimming around with their legs tied together to them is a big red flag.
However sometimes there’s just nothing you can do. In the cases that one of the mermaids I knew sold her silicone tail, she met with managers of her local pools and even had a powerpoint presentation, and all of them still would not allow her to swim. YMCAs are notorious for being strict about their no-mermaiding policy, although some individual branches still allow it- honestly it depends on the region manager.
This is why it’s SO IMPORTANT for EVERYONE to always observe proper safety and good behavior when in a tail. Not only for safety sake (common sense), but also because if one life guard sees one person in a tail horsing around and potentially putting themselves or others in danger, that can mean that a whole establishment will ban tails. Pretty soon, there’s nowhere to swim in-tail because one person ruined it for everyone. So I ask everyone reading this to always observe good safety and good and positive behavior for the sake of everyone who loves mermaiding!