Diving is a sport best shared. So it’s no surprise that a substantial amount of dive trips – if not even most of them – end up being group affairs.
A group generally consists of between seven and 40 divers travelling together with an identical itinerary: they arrive on the same airplane and stay and dive with the same hotel/resort/dive concessionaire.Groups almost always have a designated leader. And while group travel isn’t for everyone, it can be a pleasurable way to travel – as long as you know some tips for making the group experience as smooth as possible.
Whether you’ve made a conscious decision to travel on a group dive trip or somehow find yourself doing so despite a preference for independent travel, read on for some good advice that can make the experience more enjoyable for you and all members of the group:
- Majority rules. Realize that when you go on a group trip, you won’t always get your way. It’s essential that you understand this before the trip departs. Expect a few things to not go the way you’d ordinarily want them to go.
- Avoid complaining. When things are less than ideal, it can be tempting to complain to others in the group or the group leader about issues concerning travel arrangements, accommodations, the airplane, the bus, boat, etc. But there’s no point in complaining about things that the group is powerless to correct. Those things include the weather, the attitude of other people in your group and the visibility of the water. You will be happier – and those around you will be, too – if you focus on the positive and avoid the negative.
- Be punctual. If you are late to catch your mode of transport (bus, plane, train, boat, etc.), your tardiness affects the whole group and not just you. Be on time for everything and you and everyone else will have a much more pleasant trip. Hopefully, all the other members of your group will be on time, too, keeping everyone happy.
- If you are going to skip a group activity or side trip, tell the group. Some group travel involves optional activities. Be sure to let the group know if you are not going to participate. You don’t want people waiting on you or delaying their departure for an activity because you didn’t tell them you were going to stay behind.
- If you do go on a group outing or side trip, move and function with the group as a single unit in which the majority rules. Remember: when you are on a group outing or side trip, your individual identity is not the focus. The group moves as one. When the majority of the people in your group are ready to move to some other place, all must move together. Failure to follow this rule can lead to serious tension and problems within the group and diminish the enjoyment for everyone.
- Respect the possessions and space of other group members. This is a good rule to follow everywhere, but with the close contact of group travel it is of heightened importance. Don’t borrow gear, clothing or tools from others without first asking for their permission. Don’t move another diver’s belongings from their location on the boat without consent. You get the idea…
- Give notice to your group if you are diving elsewhere or with others. Rule 4 deals with a group member who plans not to not take part in a group excursion. The same rule applies if you are going to do a dive outside of the group’s planned dives. Let the group know where you are going and when you will be back.
- Be courteous and polite to everyone. Good manners are never out of place, and when traveling with a group they’re absolutely essential for a pleasant trip. As a member of a group, nearly everything you do affects the entire group. So remember to be nice, polite and pleasant – and have a great trip!
In Chapter 11 of The Scuba Snobs’ Guide to Diving Etiquette, Book 2 we discuss group travel in a humorous, often sarcastic and hopefully entertaining way, too, while offering lots of other tips (some positive and some not so positive) for group travelers. Read it if you dare!
Article written by Divemaster Dennis