The short answer is a qualified YES! Read on for the specifics.
Up until early 2014, this is what we knew about Organic Armor and water:
We’ve personally worn pieces in the pouring rain for hours out on the playa and elsewhere. There were no problems resulting. So we have always told people they are water-resistant. We didn’t say they were waterproof because we hadn’t tested it.
At NCMerFest 2014 Merman Christian bought our prettiest circlet, put on his tail and dove into the pool. He has been in and out of the water with it since then and all is well with the circlet.*
We did some water testing on the armor in the spring of 2014.
Two small Organic Armor items (pasties!)
One jar of water with extra chlorine to approximate pool water
One jar of water with enough salt to approximate the ocean
Left the items in the jars for two weeks, shaking them and checking daily for signs of wear
(this required a surprising amount of math. Thank goodness for Google’s unit converter. Did you know that the sea has about 1/4 oz of salt per gallon of water?)
Overall the items stood up well to the water test. The paint got a light “frost” over it, but this disappeared when it dried. The joints did not crack, the layers did not separate. So I would say, at least with limited exposure, the pieces are waterproof.
However, our test did not take into account exposure to the hot sun in combination with water, or frequent wetting and drying. It’s likely that a mer person will be in and out of the water, with hot sun in between.
It also didn’t test the effects of water in combination with the constant movement of swimming . Bras will be especially vulnerable to this.
So we are officially giving Organic Armor a QUALIFIED YES on how it stands up to water exposure. To know fully we will need more tests.
If you would like to commission something for swimming in, make sure to tell us because we will put on extra sealant and attention to edges and joints. However we will NOT guarantee it to stand up to active mer activity.
If you’ve purchase Organic Armor and used it in the water, please let us know how it is faring.
* 2017 Update on Christian’s circlet – we saw Chris again at the Merfest this year. The circlet looked a bit worse for the wear. The silver acrylic had lost it’s sheen and the inner cord had swelled in places. We trimmed it and repainted the silver. It looks pretty good again but not back to it’s original form. I couldn’t quantify how much it had been in the water since he bought it, but he is a very active merman. Three years may be the turning point for active mer wear with this material.