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Rappahannock Quarry - Fredericksburg VA

This quarry is closed to the general public. The site is only used for scuba diving training and kayak/canoe instruction.

Access to the quarry for kayakers/canoers is managed by the Virginia Outdoor Center.The Scuba Shack on Wallace St. is the primary go-to for divers. Both businesses are within close proximity to the site.

The quarry itself (affectionately called "Rappahannock Del Sol" by locals) has about a 5-acre water surface area. Visually stunning and picturesque granite walls encircle it, and gradually slope down from a high point of 120’ above the water surface. There are 5 underwater platforms, and several submerged attractions such as boats, a bus, a couple cars, and a van.

An underwater dummy anchored horizontally next to the bus, dubbed "Freddy the Diver", was recently added. Divers who are unaware of Freddy’s presence may be a little freaked out when he pops into view!

The quarry averages around 32’ deep, with a maximum depth of 40’ toward the middle. Visibility can change drastically based on weather and time of the year, but averages around 15’. There is a pronounced thermocline, so thick wetsuits and drysuits are recommended. You may see bluegill and bass, and a species of freshwater eel if you’re lucky.

A diver recently saw what he claimed to be an albino eel. Other divers have confirmed that there is one in the quarry, but it is rarely seen. I recently saw two eels side-by-side, and one of them was close enough to touch. Very cool!

Both the north and south walls offer "ghostly" green underwater vegetation that covers most of the spectacular rock formations. The most challenging area is at the opposite end of the quarry where the north and south walls meet. Numerous trees and branches have fallen into the water over the years, and appear as eerie specters in the distance. Entanglement is easy, so new divers are not encouraged to dive there. However, it is the perfect place for advanced divers who want to practice maneuvering in tight spaces. Be sure to carry good extraction tools with you!

As mentioned before, divers need to work with The Scuba Shack to gain access to the quarry. Ralph Clark is the dive shop owner and primary contact. He is under contractual obligation with the quarry owner (Silver Companies) to limit the main use of the quarry to diving instruction and certification.

Ralph does allow occasional "fun dives" when he opens the quarry during special events such as "Dive Against Debris", or a New Years Day dive weekend. Call the shop (540-373-1030) if you have questions, or you can visit their website calendar (

UPDATE: To celebrate the life and impact of Jacques Cousteau, two local divers created and submerged a large JYC Timeline in the quarry on June 11. The timeline is located 50’ south of the green buoy, and anchored at 35’.


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 ( and the Scuba Shack ( 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.

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