What is Mermaiding?

Mermaid diving is a world with one foot in reality and the other in fantasy. Mermaid lore originated centuries ago, yet even today, the myths tickle our imaginations. Water lovers, young and old, fantasize about living as mermaids – but unlike most such fantasies, this one we can make real – well, almost real. Mermaid equipment and costuming let us bridge fiction and fact, opening the door to this mystical culture through mermaid diving.

The PADI Mermaid Program is designed to be a rewarding and fun experience, suited to anyone with an interest in mermaid diving and basic swimming abilities. Although this experience shares techniques and equipment used in scuba and freediving, mermaid diving (or ‘mermaiding’) is its own form of diving. The PADI Mermaid Program is designed for non-divers and divers alike, as you don’t need any prior knowledge to enroll.

Mermaid Diving Culture

Modern mermaid diving has its roots and takes its leads from mermaid legends, and mermaid diving interests are at least partially influenced by myths. Mermaid legends are common in many cultures around the world, with the earliest known stories dating to about 1000 B.C., Assyria. While the modern view is of upper human bodies and lower fish/fishtail bodies, traditionally European and Asian mermaids have differences, usually in the tail and/or body shape, but sometimes with other characteristics.

The PADI Mermaid Program is not limited to women – in fact; male participants make up a substantial portion of those who enjoy mermaid diving. Although in English (and other, but not all, languages), ‘mermaid’ and its translated counterpart denotes gender, it is the most widely recognized word for both the mythical creature and mermaid diving. Therefore, although you most often hear ‘mermaid’ because it is the most recognized word, it is used as a gender-neutral, recognized and popular term that applies equally to males and females.