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Needed: a new quarry diving MODEL
Airworks - 8/16/2019 8:17 AM
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Category: Educational
Comments: 0
Having dove in numerous quarries since the late-60’s, I have substantial experience in this type of dive environment. It appears to me that the primary reason for the decade-long decline in local diving is the general unattractive and ho-hum nature of the quarry/lake diving ambience.

The history of scuba diving in quarries shows that their primary use by dive shop owners, dive instructors, and quarry site managers has been overwhelmingly oriented around training and certifying divers on the technical, “gear-and-how-to-use-it” aspects of scuba. A few quarry operators have taken the extra step of developing them into dive destinations, but the focus has been to provide improved above-water and/or near-the-surface amenities. The actual underwater diving environment hasn’t really changed at all. That is precisely why quarries, even the best of them, have been stereotyped as "cold, green, dirty", and eventually "boring".

There are very few divers who actually enjoy diving in quarries. Instructors and technical divers obviously use them for necessary training in tough conditions, but most will honestly admit they are not thrilled about diving in them. I personally know several recreational divers who have said they don’t enjoy quarry diving, but it’s “their only option” because regular coastal diving is impractical for them.

Let’s be honest. Quarries tend to be rather unappealing places. However, unlike most large aquariums and distant dive sites, quarries are everywhere. Most are underutilized. A few, like Dutch Springs in Pennsylvania, offer a variety of nice amenities and things to do, but the underwater environments and “attractions” are basically the same as other quarries.

And so the decline in diver participation continues.

One way that many dive stores and training organizations, including DEMA, are seeking to increase diver
participation, is to utilize purpose-built facilities that are underutilized for diving. More than 20 public and
private aquariums have opened their doors to divers for a fee. Programs like The Seas and DiveQuest at the EPCOT Center in Orlando, the Denver Aquarium in Colorado, the Atlanta Aquarium in Georgia, etc., have recognized that divers are a good source of revenue for their facilities. They are first-rate and get good reviews. These sites offer controlled environments, and the opportunities of encountering plenty of aquatic life. They make for great, but occasional, getaways and dive destinations.

Please note the “occasional” reference. The facilities mentioned tend to be out-of-the-way, and can be
financially draining if they are patronized on a regular basis. Participating in them often takes about the same level of planning and execution as visiting exotic dive sites around the world.

As mentioned before, quarries are everywhere, and most are readily accessible.

So for me, the foundational question is: What needs to be done to the local quarry environment that will make them so compelling and appealing to divers that they CRAVE getting wet in them?

I believe that in order to change the overall perspective of what it means to “go quarry diving”, a new model needs to emerge.

My business/dive partner and I have a model of what we believe will transform quarry diving in the future.

If you want to know more, please email me at alrios80@msn.com.