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Revision 6/02/2021 6:46 AM by Airworks
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Rappahannock/Fredericksburg Quarry - Fredericksburg VA

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 6/1, 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. Dredging is being proposed to remove all the muck and sludge, then offer the dredged material to local farmers as fertilizer and topsoil enhancers.

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. You will encounter heavy duty equipment and vehicles on site, so the way down to the quarry may be blocked for extended periods of time. Even if you’re scheduled to use the quarry, and show up for training and/or certification classes, be prepared to wait awhile. You may need to cancel the event. There are large cranes used to maneuver and install 45 ton I-Beams (and other massive structures) on the quarry access road, requiring road closures for up to an hour.
If you are able to access the quarry, there is still 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.
For divers willing to take the challenge, the south and southwest areas of the quarry have many large submerged trees and branches that offer the opportunity of practicing buoyancy control and tight-space maneuvering. Slowly weaving through the natural "obstacle course" helps develop patience and alertness. Frequent upward glances are recommended to avoid overhead obstructions made by a canopy of large and expansive branches. 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 be ready.
Large stones and huge boulders are scattered throughout, but 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. Simply copy and paste onto your browser.
A video titled: "A dive around the landslide area of the quarry" is also available for viewing and was shot to give the viewer an idea of what the underwater environment currently looks like.