Swimming teacher turned inventor Michael Harkins has joined forces with Nickelodeon, cartoon characters Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) and ViacomCBS Consumer Products to bring the product to market.
Livingston-based Harkins developed his original turtle-shaped float, which keeps the child’s arms free to learn proper swimming technique, whilst he was still at university and has already sold thousands of them. The new version will give kids the chance to also dress-up as one of the TMNT characters while swimming.
Harkins said as a childhood fan of the TMNT, the deal was a “dream come true”.
“I hope the connection will encourage more young children to enjoy spending time in the pool and having fun while learning a lifelong skill for both their future health and safety, especially as so many children have missed out on lessons due to the pandemic,” he said.
Harkins’ Turtle Pack company has attracted fans including Sir Richard Branson whose grandchildren learned to swim using the aid.
During the development of the original product Harkins was supported by Heriot-Watt University’s enterprise team and won one of the highest cash awards of £110,000 from Scottish EDGE and was a Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellow.
Turtle Pack is chaired by former Scottish Enterprise chief executive Lena Wilson and led by chief executive Ryan Carenduff.
Nickelodeon owns the global rights to the TMNT franchise which first began as a comic book series in 1984 and then became an animated TV show.