Working Under Pressure: ScubaRadio Mermaids

Leave the hard hats at home.

When you think about jobs in the scuba diving industry, you might picture wetsuits, hard hats or tech gear, but do you picture mermaid tails? When your business card reads, "Traveling Mermaid," it's sure to raise some eyebrows and garner a few inquiries.

The mermaids of ScubaRadio, a weekly national radio show devoted to scuba diving, travel the globe promoting the dive industry and tourism in destinations far and wide, including the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Fiji, Australia, Guadalupe Island and Dominica. Whether it's diving in the warm waters of Grenada or attending one of the many dive shows across the country, the mermaids are there to greet you with a smile and a friendly flip of the tail.

If you've been lucky enough to come across one of these ScubaRadio mermaids, you'll immediately notice their gracious smiles and overall cheery demeanor. What you may not know is that the mermaids of ScubaRadio are all skilled scuba divers and free divers. Their diving abilities range from advanced open water diver to instructor. In fact, one of the mermaids is a DAN Instructor. But while the mermaids may be experienced divers exploring beautiful locations around the world, there are real challenges when they don the tail.

The tails consist of a thin layer of neoprene and latex. Not only does the tail bind their legs together, but it also creates tremendous drag. Maneuvering in full dive gear with a tail around your legs may create a few challenges, but imagine removing your BCD and mask 40 feet below the surface – this is where it gets interesting. With vision impaired, legs confined and breath held, mermaids glide effortlessly through the water with a smile, posing for the perfect promotional video or publicity photo. Don't be fooled by their underwater smiles, this is hard work. The salt water stings their eyes, body temperature lowers and their lungs are stressed. Without their BCD, the mermaids are forced to use breath control to maintain buoyancy (a well-honed skill that comes from countless hours of training and experience in the water).

If all of this wasn't challenging enough, you have to consider environmental factors. The mermaids dive with sharks, dolphins, manta rays and even great whites. They dive in currents, limited visibility and varying water temperatures. Greg Holt, the creator and host of ScubaRadio, says the girls have dived in water as cold as 65°F, without a wetsuit. Holt admits the mermaids are tougher than they look. "To dive in salt water without a mask and remain photogenic is next to impossible, but the mermaids manage to pull it off every time," Holt said. "The mermaids bring a level of excitement and adventure to scuba diving."

Professional mermaid is a job in high demand but granted to a select few. The mermaids of ScubaRadio travel with the show and experience some of the best destinations and opportunities diving has to offer. Regardless of where the mermaids dive, they are sure to turn more than a few heads. So, the next time you dive into the deep blue, keep your mask cleared and your eyes open – you just might see a mermaid.

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