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Rappahannock/Fredericksburg Quarry - Fredericksburg VA


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Rappahannock/Fredericksburg Quarry is a shore accessible fresh water dive site, located in Fredericksburg, VA 22401. This dive site has an average rating of 3.14 out of 5 from 7 scuba divers. The maximum depth is 36-40ft/11-12m. The average visibility is 11-15ft/3-5m. Training platforms are available.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: A major landslide occurred at the south end of the quarry on February 23, 2021, causing a massive cascade of mud, clay, rocks, trees, and branches into the water. Underwater viz was reduced to less than 12". As of 6/22, the water quality and visibility have begun to normalize. However, the bottom, and every object close to it, are covered in clay and silt. An effort is underway to prevent further erosion around the upper access road and marquee area.

This quarry is closed to the general public, but is accessible to scuba divers under very specific conditions.

It is managed by the Virginia Outdoor Center (VOC; 540-371-5085), and is used for kayak, canoe, and paddleboard training. Dive shops interested in using the quarry for dive training and student certification must coordinate with the VOC.

You will need to contact, and be approved by, Bill Micks of the VOC in order to get a quarry pass if you want to scuba dive in the quarry.

Mr. Micks will only allow diving if you are a dive instructor, are part of a government or private dive team, or are an individual with a dive business. You must also have dive insurance.

The road leading to the quarry from the baseball field has been widened to allow VDOT/Wagman Heavy Civil, Inc. vehicles to access the area under I-95 in order to construct additional lanes. There are several new policies and requirements in place at the VOC due to the construction which is scheduled to be completed in 2022. The presence and maneuvering of heavy machinery may limit scuba diving training and permitted boat activity/paddleboard access to the quarry, requiring road closures for up to an hour.

Even if you are able to access the quarry, there is the possibility that you may not be able to leave when desired due to the same issue.

All that to say: be flexible during the construction period.

For your diving convenience, The Scuba Shack (540-373-1030), a local dive shop, is located about 2 miles from the quarry. Mad About Diving (540-424-4973) opened its doors in 2018 and is located in downtown Fredericksburg. Patriot Scuba (703-490-1175) is another shop that frequently visits the quarry. There are a couple of others also authorized to use it.

If you would like to scuba dive in the quarry, call the shops mentioned here to find out if they will allow you to tag along for "fun dives." If so, you’ll probably be required to fill out a waiver.

The quarry itself has training platforms, and several submerged objects. See the dive map for a complete list.

Fauna includes bass, bluegill, painted turtles, freshwater jellyfish, freshwater eel, and white catfish.
Visibility varies greatly depending on weather and human traffic, but averages between 10’ to 20’. The thermocline temp stays a steady 41-45 degrees year round.

Horizontally-suspended silt clouds can be observed in most places and give the underwater environment a ghostly appearance.

The quarry walls offer spectacular views.

The landslide mentioned earlier caused many trees, roots and all, to cascade into the quarry. The tsunami-type wave that was produced has significantly altered the underwater layout so that entire trees, roots, and branches are scattered throughout. Combined with the generally poor viz, diving anywhere except the platform and bus areas can be hazardous.

For divers willing to take the challenge, however, these obstacles offer the opportunity of practicing buoyancy control and tight-space maneuvering. Slowly weaving through the natural "obstacle course" helps develop patience and alertness. Make sure to carry a dive tool that has a serrated edge and knife combination in case of entanglement. In that kind of environment, slow is fast!

Though fishing is prohibited, some folks don’t care about the rules and fish anyway. Broken off monofilament lines are encountered regularly, so stay alert.

Large stones and huge boulders are scattered throughout. The southeast area has most of the larger ones. They are packed close together, creating cave-like crevices that provide shelter and protection for fish and eels.

See the pic titled "Nature-provided training areas"

Be sure to check out the photos associated with the quarry. There is also a beautiful Youtube video that will give you a general idea of what you might see and experience.

Here is the link: youtu.be/uRhxnqd-x7U

Dive Site Map

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Comments

Airworks - 10/29/2020 4:29 AM
To find out more about the Debris Collection Hanger, copy and paste the link below into your brower:
divebuddy.com/blog.aspx?BlogID=12764&Category=79
Airworks - 10/29/2020 4:24 AM
I’ve done numerous solo dives at the quarry over the last several months and have extracted a lot of debris/trash using a Debris Collection Hanger. It’s a very efficient way of mounting and removing larger-sized objects in one dive. A mesh bag for collecting smaller debris is attached to the Hanger.
Check out the pic to see the items.
Lots more to go.
Airworks - 11/22/2019 3:27 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWnPPkci_DA>

Did a solo yesterday and stumbled upon what I think is the deepest area of the quarry. I had heard it was around 40’, but wasn’t sure where.
Airworks - 9/28/2019 2:26 PM
youtu.be/uRhxnqd-x7U

Took another journey around the perimeter of the quarry. This time, however, the sun was out and bright and the water was unusually clear.
Check out the YouTube link.
ScubaEarth - 9/27/2019 10:34 PM
Rating Added: 3
Finished my cert here
Airworks - 8/29/2019 4:54 PM
Did another solo dive at the Rappahannock Quarry to test a new GoPro Hero7 Black, and the original turned out great. Nice and sharp colors and edges. But the upload to YouTube distorted it slightly, though it’s still viewable.

Here’s the link: youtube.com/watch?v=wiCFsr50nxI
Airworks - 7/21/2019 12:25 PM
Just finished a solo "night" (4 am) dive searching for the elusive monster catfish Ralph told me about. I looked around an area along the south west side of the quarry where small catfish have been observed, but no luck. I did find a dead 2’ largemouth bass that appeared to have died within a couple days. He was completely intact and stiff, with small amounts of mucus emanating from it. Shoved it under about 1’ of bottom muck. Also saw five large eels.
Airworks - 5/19/2019 3:15 PM
Have done about 12 solo’s here since March, and have found 5 kayak paddles belonging to the VOC, 4 dive masks, 2 tank valve caps, 3 snorkels, and a single dive glove. My buoyancy control and tight-space maneuvering ability has greatly improved since spending considerable time at the south end of the quarry where there are many submerged large trees and branches.
The visibility has been outstanding for the most part.
Barnabysdad - 3/23/2019 4:42 PM
1-1-2019. Completed a dive with Scuba Shack. Had a good time. Vis averaged 10-15’. The average temperature was 46. The max depth that my group hit was 32’. I did not see any fish or other critters.
Airworks - 10/15/2018 3:09 PM
youtube.com/watch?v=T_8Qhd444qk&t=492s

Here’s a link to see what the quarry perimeter looks like.
The video was the first time I’ve used a hand-held camera, so please excuse the slight shaking. Will definitely need to get an extension.
Airworks - 10/15/2018 3:27 AM
My dive buddy and I did a couple of "night" (very early morning) dives in the quarry, and saw several medium-sized catfish for the first time. We didn’t even know the quarry had them. They appeared to be Channel cats, though possibly Brown Bullheads. Will take a closer look next time.
The viz was excellent, particularly from the surface to about 20’ deep.
Ambient temp was about 44 degrees, but the water felt very comfortable, even warm in comparison.
Airworks - 10/01/2018 6:27 AM
After finally getting a quarry pass from Bill Micks, I’ve been able to dive the quarry several times since August.
The visibility has been unusually good (between 15’ and 30’) from the surface to about 25’.
There are schools of bluegill and largemouth bass, some of which are very large. You’ll also see striped bass, freshwater jellyfish, and eels galore.
The south end of the quarry has many submerged trees and branches, and is a great area to practice tight space maneuvering and buoyancy control.
Milcopk9 - 9/20/2016 10:37 AM
Rating Added: 3
Good Training
Airworks - 5/14/2016 6:11 AM
Three local dive shops participated in a Dive Against Debris event at the Rappahannock Quarry on Saturday, May 7. I joined in and was able to collect and extract 10 lbs of trash. Among the items were a diver’s mask, a decayed flotation device, and an arrow with its 15" shaft protruding vertically in the muck bottom.
The viz was unusually good at around 25’. There are several beautiful rock formations toward the middle of the quarry that I had never seen before. Water temp at 35’ was 47f.
Korps - 5/18/2016 1:59 PM
Glad to heare you were able to join. I’m an AI for Patriot Scuba, one of the shops who sponsored the Dive Against Debris. I was at the Rapp both days this past weekend and continue to find more stuff, usually left by the kids and hikers/runners who pass though. Patriot Scuba has adopted the Rappahannock Quarry for Dive Against Debris and will be doing more dives to clean it up.
InterstateDiveGuide - 5/11/2016 12:44 PM
Rating Added: 3
It’s cold with a distinct thermocline, but it’s a great location for training open water divers. Vis is just good enough to see a full open water class, and the bottom is not too silty.
Airworks - 1/29/2016 7:49 AM
Generally good diving. Gets pretty cold (44 degrees F) at the thermocline, and the viz is unpredictable. If you find the bus, there’s a mannequin with dive gear lying flat on the bottom right at the door. Can be a shocker for the unprepared.
The quarry is surrounded by large trees, and over time several branches and limbs have broken off, fallen into the water, and sunk to the bottom. They form ghostly and cool images underwater, but present potential entanglement hazards.
The cliff walls and granite rock formations are spectacular.
nomad-diver - 9/04/2015 11:34 PM
City of Fredericksburg controls access ... you can dive here working through Patriot Scuba (patriotscuba.com/) and the Scuba Shack (scubashackva.com/). Two gates to get in, you must be with one of the dive shops. Dirt trail down to the water ... if you drive a compact car you won’t make it. Viz varies widely, 5-30’ depending on weather and season. Lots of artifacts sunk in the quarry (eg, platforms, boats, cars, and a bus) and good rock walls almost all the way around. Entry point is a rock and sand ramp from beach level down to 20’. Quarry is shallow, not more than 50’ at the deepest point. Lots of gills and sunfish. Great place to just swim and look around.
TamVA - 8/13/2015 1:44 PM
I went scuba diving here on 5/13/2015.
Love this shop. Nice dive, un-prepared for conditions, dive cut short. Will go back.
Korps - 8/18/2013 4:30 AM
I went scuba diving here on 8/5/2013. Average viz: 5-10ft/2-3m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.
Started my AOW here.