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Many of us fall asleep dreaming about being a mermaid and exploring the ocean as if it were our natural habitat. There are hundreds of legends about mermaids and sirens around the globe, and it’s easy to understand why. The ancient Greeks believed in the god Atargatis, who had the body of a fish and head of a human. Since ships first set sail, sailors have been tempted by sirens. Even Chinese mythology has tales of mermaids who cried tears that would turn into pearls.
In this guide, we’ll show you exactly how to become a mermaid in the modern day.
Because yes, they’re real.
Who can be a mermaid?
Mermaids can exist anywhere there is water — in lakes, oceans, ponds, rivers, and pools. However, true mermaids are passionate about protecting their environment around them, no matter what it is. Even if you’re not near an ocean, you can become a mermaid wherever you’re able to swim.
Mermaids come in all ages, body types, countries, and backgrounds. Men can be mermen. Some mermaids are fantastic swimmers while others are still learning. True mermaids believe in themselves, love the water, embrace their imagination, and know how to have fun. So long as this sounds like you, you can be a mermaid too.
Step 1: Take a freediving course
Humans evolved from the sea and still maintain a mammalian dive reflex, which was passed to us from our ancestors. The mammalian dive reflex slows our heart rate and moves blood from the limbs to the torso, helping our bodies conserve oxygen.
To take advantage of this reflex and hold your breath as long as possible, you must take a freediving course. There are many agencies that can teach you how to safely hold your breath for minutes at a time. If you want to become a mermaid to swim with animals, this is one of the best things you can do. Since you are swimming in the sea quietly — like a fellow sea creature, you’ll often be able to interact with underwater wildlife in a way that few others in the world can. You’ll find that many animals come up to you, curious about what you are.
Freediving with dolphins in Hawaii
The sport of freediving is growing quickly but has existed since man first learned how to swim. In South Korea, Malaysia, and Japan, humans have been freediving for centuries — collecting abalone, pearls, and food while holding their breath for over five minutes at a time. In some communities, freediving has been so ingrained into their lives, their eyes have developed to see underwater much better than the average person can.
Natalia Molchanova, one of the world’s most talented freedivers, held her breath for over nine minutes and was the first woman to dive deeper than 100 meters (328 feet). Today, Alessia Zecchini is the deepest female freediver who has dived deeper than 104 meters (341 feet). Other freedivers do it to help save the environment. For example, Madison Stewart, nicknamed “Shark Girl,” swims with sharks and advocates for their protection.
Alternative: Take a scuba diving course
If freediving doesn’t suit you, you can always take a scuba diving course instead. Or, why not both? The benefit of scuba diving is that you’re able to stay underwater for much longer, and can enjoy the ocean for hours instead of just minutes.
If you do become a scuba-mermaid, we don’t recommending using a monofin (single mermaid tail) with your gear. Choose a pair of fins instead.
Read: How to choose a scuba diving school
Alternative: What if I can’t take a freediving or scuba diving course? Mermaid swimming, snorkeling, and mermaid academy
You must be 10 years old to enroll in a scuba diving course and 16 years old to enroll in a freediving course. If you’re not old enough, don’t live near a course, can’t afford a course, you can still be a mermaid through snorkeling or learning how to swim like a mermaid in a pool. Some cities have mermaid swimming classes.
There are also academies devoted just to teaching humans how to be mermaids. The Philippine Mermaid Swim Academy trains people of all ages in the ocean.
You can also learn how to become a mermaid in Florida, Western Australia, the UK, Hawaii, and more.
Simply grab a snorkel set and swim. Sometimes, snorkelers see more marine life than scuba divers or freedivers because they have a better vantage point from the surface.
Step 2: Create or buy a mermaid tail for swimming
A mermaid tail is her strongest feature. Like a fingerprint, no two tails are alike. You can buy a mermaid tail for swimming, or create your own.
How to make a mermaid tail
You will need a monofin to use as the base of the tail. You can use a mid-range monofin, or aprofessional monofin. There are also monofins for children.
Then, you will need two pieces of spandex or Lycra material. Lay on the material while wearing your monofin. Have someone outline the material around your body. Leave an inch or two extra on the outline so that you can adjust it and have room to sew the two pieces of material together. Decorate each side of the tail if you like, adding shells, paint, or lace. If you are taking your tail into the ocean, make sure that nothing will fall off and pollute the sea. Put the two pieces of material together with the decorated side facing each other. Sew the sides of the tail together. Do not sew the tail tip or where your waist will be. It should look like a long skirt.
Then, put the monofin inside the tail. You can either sew the tip of the tail shut, or, add a few buttons or Velcro pieces for the tip of the tail to stick together. This is the better option for beginners as it will let you switch tails if you make more than one, and allows water to flow through the tail much better.
Mermaid tails to choose from — our favorites
Discover the best mermaid tails for kids.
Step 3: Practice swimming with your mermaid tail
Before you put on the full tail, practice swimming with just the monofin, using the proper monofin technique, often called dolphin kick. Once you’ve mastered the dolphin kick with the monofin, you can then slip on your tail. Stick close to the side of the pool at first, so you can grab onto the edge and rest if you get tired.
Never swim alone or without supervision. This is the number one rule in freediving — even for adults — and in being a mermaid. Do not practice holding your breath until after you’ve taken a course.
Step 4: Become an ambassador for the ocean
Now that you’re a mermaid, it’s time to be the ultimate link between landlocked humans and the sea we love. Participate in ocean clean-ups, wear reef-safe sunscreen, advocate for marine animal rights, cut down on plastics, and volunteer at your local wildlife society. Mermaids never touch, take home, or disturb sea life. Spend your time on land inspiring others to take an interest in the ocean.
Step 5: Congratulations! You’ve now mastered how to be a real life mermaid
Can you be a professional mermaid?
Some of us want to turn our love of being a mermaid into a career. There are many jobs where you can live and work as a mermaid in many different forms.
Oceanographer: If you’re excellent at math and physics, you might enjoy being an oceanographer. Oceanographers study waves, currents, and do research that protects land from coastal erosion. Oceanographers also study climate change and discover new ways of how to prevent our oceans from warming.
Marine biologist: Work as a scientist studying animals who live in the sea. Marine biologists go on expeditions to research how animals are living and behaving underwater. You can study everything from big creatures like dolphins and sharks, to the small forms of life like plankton, nudibranchs, and algae.
Underwater photographer or videographer: If you love being creative, you might enjoy being an photographer who takes stunning pictures under the sea. While there are many photographers in the world, few have the skills to capture the beauty that exists underwater. Many mermaids work as documentary makers or film producers.
Scuba diving guide, instructor, or tech diver: A career in scuba diving will keep you in the ocean almost all day, everyday if you like. Guide people on scuba dives, pointing out the different sea creatures and reef life, teach people how to scuba dive, or be a tech diver. Tech divers do research, construction, requires a lot of skill, and is an job reserved for only the most adventurous divers.
Competitive freediver or freediving instructor: Teach people how to become real-life mermaids through freediving. You can also train to become one of the best in the world.
Mermaid swim instructor: Teach others how to become a mermaid themselves in a pool, lake, or the ocean. You’ll get to wear your tail every single day.
Mermaid model or performance artist: Dress in elaborate tails and model as a mermaid. You can also perform in mermaid shows around the world.
Any questions? Let us know what you think about becoming a mermaid in the comments below.
Disclosure: The Salt Sirens is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. We are also an affiliate of LeisurePro.