Home  /  Dive Resorts  /  Live-Aboards  /  Snorkeling  /  Who We Are  /  Book a Trip

© Copyright U.S. Dive Travel Network.




Our buddy Werner Thiele, from the Tyrol, is a genius photog.
© Copyright Werner Thiele, Waterworld.



Phone: 952-953-4124.

E-mail: divetrip@bitstream.net

Internet Address:

Mailing Address:
U.S. Dive Travel
PMB 307 / Suite # 116
15050 Cedar Ave. S.
St. Paul, MN 55124-7047

To navigate through this document easily, click on the hot links below:

A. Introduction: A win-win-win scenario -- how a group tour benefits clients, the group leader & USDT alike.

B. Air Ticket Incentives: How wholesale air prices help both group leader & clients.

C. Lodging & Diving Incentives: How group leaders earn a free land package.

D. Live-Aboard Vessel Incentives: How group leaders earn a free vessel package.

E. 14-Point Plan for Becoming a Tour Group Leader: The rewards are many.

F. Key Public Relations Issue: Why clients often fare better by booking with a group leader,
not directly with a resort or vessel. You'll need to know this answer.

G. Need a Divemaster Card?: An encouraging word for aspiring tour-group leaders.

H. Emergency Assistance Plan: Helpful model for divemaster candidates & group leaders,
based on Puget Sound hospitals & agencies.

Every week at the St. Paul, MN office of U.S. Dive Travel we receive phone calls from across the USA, from Canada & also Europe, from divers interested in becoming tour group leaders for our guide service. Since 1991, we have assembled a highly-trained, dependable cadre of dive instructors & divemasters across North America & Western Europe who organize groups for us -- most from within dive clubs, dive shops or private groups of diving buddies.

Many of these well-motivated tour leaders will travel 1 to 3 times a year to tropical islands for us, taking typical groups of 8-15 divers, & often several non-diver spouses. Some groups are substantially larger. We very much enjoy our association with these tour leaders.

They work hard gathering their team, prepping the paperwork & spearheading the creative marketing necessary for groups to coalesce. That's why we reward these guides well for their labors. Because these independent contractor guides are one mainstay of our growing wholesale business, we at U. S. DIVE TRAVEL whenever possible give the group leaders free land or live-aboard packages & super-low wholesale net rates on their group's airfares.

Guided group trips prove to be a win-win-win scenario for all concerned:

When group leaders book through USDT
they will enjoy 4 important advantages:

1. In some select markets in the South Pacific, for example, we'll sell you the air tickets, whenever space & contracts permit, at straight wholesale rates-- plus our minimal markup -- allowing you to offer your dive buddies tremendous savings. Some trips you can mark the air tickets up as much as $70 - $80 per ticket to each client & still beat the airline's lowest retail price by $50 or more. (This volatile market changes daily, just like the stock market, amigos.) These are savings that solo clients normally could not have secured on their own in the retail marketplace. We grant these discounts only to groups of sufficient size (usually no fewer than 10 - 12 persons). This markup margin is money you can use to defray your own air ticket cost.

2. For groups as small as 8 - 10 divers, depending on the resort, or 10-18 divers for live-aboard yachts, we can give you as the trip leader a free land or vessel package.

3. As a full-service dive-travel wholesaler, we'll take most of the administrative hassles off your shoulders & do the bulk of the planning job for you. All you need to do is market your socks off, gather a group under your capable wings, give us names, dates & any destination you choose in the Pacific or Caribbean. We'll do all the rest -- group air tickets, land accommodations, diving & any side tours -- every detail honed to a 'T.'

4. What's more, we already have a thorough liability waiver, travel insurance advisory, gear & safety checklist, plus expert travel tips all printed in a handy, easy-to-follow booklet for each client.

Here's how these free-trip opportunities work in our prime bargain destinations:

Back to Index

(Wholesale airfare prices vary between high & low seasons & are subject to possible change as local taxes & tariffs shift within host countries.)

Airlines, of course, can & do change their prices all the time, without warning. But clients are protected when they book with U.S. Dive Travel, if they book early enough to grab those highly prized wholesale spaces. That's because our contract net rates with certain carriers stay solid -- with set seasonal ceilings, no matter what wild gyrations hit the retail market. (Fluctuations in wholesale net rates are much less frequent.)

Feel free to call us if you need more air ticket information: 952-953-4124.

Back to Index

(Prices & package terms subject to possible changes.)

Now, please consider these free vacation opportunities. We can offer free land packages (lodging & diving) to the leader of any independent travel group that books group air & land through us, to many of our prime destinations. That means we'd like to encourage any experienced divemaster or instructor with a dream destination to consider organizing your own group. It'll be the best & most satisfying vacation you ever experience. Here's a succinct summary of how the system works for you. These are merely helpful examples, as USDT can arrange superior group discounts at any of hundreds of resorts worldwide, in the 30+ countries we represent contractually.

Call for details: 952-953-4124.

These are some of our best group-leader bargains this year. As always, we're happy to custom craft a special contract for your group to any reasonable destination, anywhere in the Pacific, Caribbean or Indian Ocean. Just call us for details: 952-953-4124.

Back to Index

Here is a capsule summary of tour-leader incentives for some of the world's top live-aboard dive vessels. Please hot-link back to the vessel pages for photos & details.

(Prices & package terms are subject to possible changes):

For more info on USDT's live-aboard vessel options, call: 952-953-4124.

Back to Index


All prospective group leaders for scuba-diving trips must first be formally certified as a divemaster or instructor by PADI, NAUI, SSI or YMCA, or another internationally approved dive certification agency. Your professional status must be current, with no legal or quality assurance issues pending.

2. Great News for Non-Scuba Clients: USDT is always happy to work with any person who wants to organize a non-diving group vacation to any tropical destination. For example, let's say an uncle plans a 34-person family reunion (complete with kids) for a beachfront resort in Kailua-Kona of Hawaii, highlighted by a couple days of boat-based snorkeling or deep-sea fishing. Or maybe an office professional gathers 12 co-workers for a deluxe snorkeling trip to the Belize Barrier Reef. With easygoing vacation trips of this sort, where technical liability is minimal, the group leader can ignore USDT's listed requirements # 1, #4, #5, #8 & #14. Therefore, the non-diving group organizer can enjoy the same resort or vessel discounts we offer to dive tour leaders, with almost no paperwork required. In most cases of large groups, after the group leader's trip is paid for, there still remains ample savings to share among all group members.

3. Back to dive-tour leaders: USDT needs photocopies of your passport's photo/data page, & your driver's license photo/data side, plus both sides of your professional diver certification card (i.e. divemaster or instructor). Thank you for your consideration.

4. All scuba-tour leaders must carry at least $1 million of professional liability insurance (however we strongly recommend $5 million) in your own name -- with U.S. Dive Travel & Wild Island Expeditions specifically listed as co-insured. We recommend PADI's policy. It is universally respected in the industry.

5. Prospective guides need to have completed at least 75 career dives, preferably ocean dives, & we request that your dives be formally logged & dated for USDT review.

6. We need a brief cover letter stating your intentions, summarizing your diving & international travel background, & your basic bio-data -- address, home & work phones, fax, E-mail, age, plus any health issues that may affect safety on scuba. Please list the names, phone numbers & dive shop affiliations of the scuba instructors under whom you received the Rescue, Divemaster & Instructor levels of your certification.

7. Please cite the special destination you have chosen for your group trip. Please provide USDT with a brief written plan for activities, including travel dates, side tours, preferred lodging & number of boat diving days you want USDT to book for you.

8. Apart from your instructors, please provide at least three professional references, for example employers & supervisors -- with names, addresses, phone numbers, company names & a brief explanation of your professional relationship with each person. For university students, professors & career counselors would be suitable references.

9. All tour guides must agree to abide by all Terms & Conditions of the U.S. Dive Travel booking process. (Check the "How to Book a Trip" hot link on our Home Page to review the Terms.) We ask that you require all clients in your party, including yourself -- & even non-divers -- to sign the USDT registration form, the liability release, travel insurance advisory & the PADI-approved medical checklist ( A physical exam is seldom ever needed ñ only for serious medical matters. We run a simple honor system).

10. PAYMENTS -- We ask that the tour guide, to better serve the clients, please establish a clearly separate account for your tours -- apart from your personal checking account. Or you may run the dive team's finances through the checking account of your dive shop or travel center if you own one. Then you need to funnel your clients' deposits & payments of final balance through that special dive-team account at all times, so the team's finances have appropriate, well-managed records. This guideline is extremely important, since U.S. Dive Travel is lending our nationally good name & reputation for integrity toward helping your team members book a trip. Everything you do as guide reflects on all of us. Let's do this the right way from the get-go.

11. We ask that you please give us your word, whenever U.S. Dive Travel secures a special wholesale net rate for you, that you will charge all your team members at or below the lowest retail price available for that package on the open market -- to be fair to the clients, & to maintain our collective reputation for integrity. We further ask that you keep U.S. Dive Travel updated with a simple spreadsheet summarizing deposit & final payment amounts, & payment schedule for the clients.

12. We also ask that you please inform your group members that U.S. Dive Travel is compensating you for your organizing work with "group leader perquisites." You need not embellish, since these are private matters between our company & the group leader. To avoid even the appearance of improper fiscal conduct, & to cement your trust relationship with your clients, we ask that you be fully candid with them. They will understand the fairness of your leader perks. They know you worked hard for the group. The guiding principle here is this: clients who get a great price, who feel they're treated fairly & with genuine respect, will be happy clients. They will grant you the perks you have honestly earned. And they will likely return for another trip if you do a good job.

13. More than 90 days before departure, approved tour leaders need to send USDT a list of all group members, including each person's name, address, work & home phone numbers, diving certification level, last dive date, rooming preference (solo, with spouse, with friend), meal preference (regular, veggie or special-needs diet), & whether any client has a disability or medical condition that might affect scuba safety.

14. Tour leaders need to send USDT a brief summary of the trip after completion, noting any accidents or difficulties with clients, & detailing the positive points. We ask that this report be faxed or mailed to USDT no later than 10 days after return. Included in this trip summary, we request a brief review of all air, land & watersport services booked, so we can put positive pressures to bear when reforms are needed, or praise the overseas staffs when they do a great job. This feedback is essential & helps us keep improving our service, while protecting the interests of our good clients.

If you have any further questions, or need additional brochures to help you get started with your first tour group, call JOHN or SUSAN HESSBURG, U.S. Dive Travel general managers in St. Paul, MN, at 952-953-4124, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST. Best wishes.

Back to Index

Always alert for a better deal, some assertive travel shoppers may challenge you as tour leader & ply you with these questions, "Why should I bother traveling with your guided tour, since you as group leader are buying both land & air reservations wholesale from USDT then marking the total package up to us as clients? Can't USDT give me the same discount deal as you got, if my partner & I just book directly with them?"

The answer is a simple & emphatic, "No." It's best to be frank with your clients. Show them this list below. If they complain, keep your TLC quotient high, but be firm on facts. Show them how you're helping them save money, even though you will mark up their package a fair & reasonable margin to defray your organizing costs. With most bookings at resorts or on vessels where USDT holds a wholesale contract, if clients don't have a large group behind them, they simply cannot match the savings that members of a group will enjoy. For small groups, the resort or vessel would never cut them a deal better than the regular retail price. (Normally, USDT defines a group as 10 or more clients plus the leader.) Here's how the system works, amigos, where USDT holds wholesale contracts:

Back to Index

If you're an Advanced or Rescue certified diver & you're about to sign up for your Divemaster course, here's a little item to assist you in hitting the deck running. One requirement that PADI & NAUI, the top certification companies in North America, will insist upon is that you complete a comprehensive emergency plan for handling scuba-related rescues at your local level. It might sound easy but consider the context.

After months of slogging through your pool work & open water checkout dives with basic students, while juggling your work & social lives, & keeping the ol' dog walked & the lawn mowed, you'll likely be bushed. Trust us, we've been there. So here's a bit of good news.

Feel free to crib any ideas you need from this model emergency plan we developed for our own Divemaster course in Puget Sound. Of course, the obvious specifics will vary from city to city (emergency numbers, etc.) but this plan will highlight the basics.

Hope this encourages you to jump in & tackle the exciting Divemaster curriculum with some gusto. Don't worry, you'll do an excellent job! It's really a lot of fun & not as tough as you might expect. The challenge is stimulating. The professional diver certification card represents an achievement, & an honor, that will last you a lifetime. Go for it!

If you live in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan or Australia, call us at 952-953-4124 & we'll help connect you to a top-flight PADI instructor who can give you an excellent Divemaster course. Then once you get your Divemaster card, the hardest part is over. Just make a few phone calls to line up some dive buddies & you may be on your way to becoming one of our hard-working (& well-pampered) team of overseas tour guides. Here goes.....

Back to Index


(Treatment is the same for suspected lung-expansion injury or decompression sickness.)

1. Calm the victim, if he or she is conscious. Send somebody quickly to call "911" with details of the emergency.

2. Keep the victim's airway open. This is imperative.

3. For the first 20 minutes after the accident, place the victim head down, left side down. After that, shift the victim to a prone position flat on his or her back. Keep the victim still.

4. If victim is conscious & breathing, administer 100% oxygen through demand-regulator valve system. Keep oxygen flowing smoothly until emergency medical help arrives.

5. If victim is not breathing, & no pulse is detectable, administer proper CPR, as per rescue training (use the "A-B-C" memory jogger):

6. Protect victim from excessive heat, cold, wetness or hazardous exhaust fumes.

7. Give victim fluids -- but absolutely no alcohol, caffeine or stimulants of any kind!

When qualified medical technicians arrive, advise them that IV fluids are in order for the entire ride back to a hospital emergency room or hyperbaric chamber.

8. Arrange for immediate evacuation when help arrives. Advise EMTs to keep the oxygen flow on non-stop for the full ride back to medical facility. Just like the IVs, this is vital.


  • Back to Index

    Home  /  Dive Resorts  /  Live-Aboards  /  Snorkeling  /  Who We Are  /  Book a Trip

    © Copyright U.S. Dive Travel Network.