Let’s take a look at some positive and negative aspects of getting wet in quarries and/or lakes.
- Quarries/lakes offer convenience and affordability for divers living inland and away from the coast.
- Quarries/lakes frequently have challenging environmental aspects like poor visibility, very cold temperatures/thermoclines, and various levels of silt and muck buildup. They help divers acclimate to difficult and demanding underwater situations. This is particularly true in terms of early skill development and training.
- For novices and beginners, quarry/lake diving offers water environments that have no current, are wave-free, have readily accessible shorelines and ingress/egress points, and don’t usually have dangerous aquatic life. These characteristics help create a less stressful learning environment when compared to the ocean. No one gets lost, or encounters a shark, in a quarry! Even if a diver’s navigational skill is minimal, they simply need to ascend and surface in order to find out where they are, with no fear of a shark eyeing them from below :)
- Quarry/lake water is less corrosive on scuba gear.
- Objects of various sizes and shapes, such as planes, cars, buses, trucks, boats, etc., are often submerged in quarries/lakes in order to provide points-of-interest and exploration opportunities.
- Exclusive diving in freshwater quarries/lakes will not fully prepare the diver for the often arduous and intense rigors of ocean diving.
- Many recreational divers who live inland tend to stop diving during cold days and the winter months. The seasonal aspects of inland diving have a significant negative impact upon overall diving participation and involvement, particularly among females. The general metabolism rate of most women tends to limit their desire to be cold for an extended period of time.
- The numerous objects submerged in order to provide interest and exploration opportunities in quarries/lakes usually remain undisturbed for long periods of time, accumulate large amounts of silt and algae, and quickly lose their attraction and the “WOW” factor. This only bolsters the stereotype of quarry diving as dirty and boring.
- Aside from the various certifications and skill development training made available by dive shop managers and instructors, there is usually no other type of education (e.g. marine fauna and flora) made directly available to the diver while immersed in the quarry/lake dive experience.
The dive industry continues to brainstorm ways to stimulate diver participation at the inland and local levels. Finding practical solutions to address the “cons” mentioned above will no doubt help get people diving again on a more consistent and regular basis.
The Divearium project is one of those exciting solutions that addresses each of the negative aspects of quarry/lake diving in the mid-Atlantic area. For more information about the project, and to find out how you can get involved, please visit divearium.com
Hail to inland diving!