WHERE DO YOU DIVE AROUND HERE?
by Terry Brady
Maryland: Ocean City has charter boats that go to wrecks offshore including the artificial reef sub Blenny, African Queen, Washingtonian, Manhattan and more. The O.C. diver, OC Dive Boat and Capt. Gerry McDonald "To Dive For" SCUBA Charters are some of the charter boats that will take you diving there. Ted Green's OC Diver excellent web site has an extensive schedule and wreck site list.
The Chesapeake Bay although very low visibility and busy with pleasure boats during the summer months, offers wreck diving from the mouth of the Susquehanna to Virginia Beach. Oyster diving has been very popular during the season October through March. You can call Capt. Gerry McDonald "To Dive For" SCUBA Charters Cell: 410-215-9135 to get a ride on his boat for an oyster dive. Calvert Cliffs had been popular over the years but access has been restricted by the state. The waters just under the cliffs yield ancient shark's teeth and other fossils. Access is limited to walk-ins from the park, and no shore diving. Access is possible by boat but you may not step onto the beach. A turnoff called Brownies Beach just south of Chesapeake Beach is a free spot where you can access. In southern Maryland is the rubber-sheathed German submarine U-1105 -- the "Black Panther", the State of Marylands first underwater dive preserve off Piney Point in the Potomac River.
We have been in Greenbrier State Park and Cunningham Falls. You must talk to the park ranger beforehand to insure diver access. Deep Creek Lake and Rocky Gap State Park are in western Maryland. Parts of the Potomac river above the dams are safe to dive during the week. You must float a dive flag and it's advisable to have a lookout on the surface to guard against wayward pleasure boaters. You can find lost anchors and some have found Civil War artifacts. Best time is mid to late summer during dry periods.
Maryland has many quarries but few allow divers to enter. Hydes Quarry near Westminster is leased by Undersea Outfitters. You should call ahead to check availability. Open every weekend during the season. Visibility worsens later in the season. Privately owned quarries may be researched and permission given to enter.
Delaware: The Washingtonian is a popular dive at 90 feet along with the Elizabeth Palmer, Cherokee, Moonstone, and Hvoslof. A wreck dubbed the "China Wreck" in the mouth of the Delaware Bay was laden with porcelain bowls and plates. Wrecks farther offshore include San Gil, Marine Electric. The Association of Underwater Explorers has another list at Shipwrecks. A 6 pack wreck diving charter boat called "To Dive For" runs out of Indian River Del. It also run Chesapeake Bay Oyster dives out of Kent Island beginning the first Saturday in October through the end of March. It can take up to 12 divers (two 6 pack boats) for the oyster dives. Each diver is allowed one bushel and we almost always get our limit. Capt. Gerry McDonald "To Dive For" SCUBA Charters
New Jersey: Charter boat operators I have talked to at Beneath the Sea: Dina Dee II, 42ft www.dinadee.com 732-899-7840 Brick. Sea Lion www.atlantic-wreckdivers.com 973-887-3337 36ft Union Landing Marina, Brielle. Wahoo 55ft 631-928-3849 http://www.wahoo.org/ . Tuna Seazure 37ft twin diesel 24 knot cruise.
Goto njscuba.net for a complete list of boats.
Virginia: Virginia Beach has several dive charter boat operations that will take you to wrecks in the Atlantic Ocean and the mouth of the Chesapeake.
Miss Mackenzie. Run by Lynnhaven Dive Center, Located at Southside Marina at Rudee Inlet. A 60’ custom dive boat with compressor on board, sundecks, shaded dive deck, air conditioned salon, galley, sleeping space for 14 people and head with hot fresh water shower.
Lake Phoenix, Rawlings, VA. (804) 716-2199. 2.5 miles from exit 39 off of I-85 (1 hour south-west of Richmond). We have visited Lake Phoenix many times since 2001. It has a very nice camping area with five electric hookups, clear water, and many underwater attractions. More Maryland instructors are taking their cert dives there because of the warmer, clear water. New ownership in 2015 has shown a more positive atmosphere. We wish Robert Grose well in his new endeavor.
Fredericksburg Quarry is closed to the general public. This quarry is only used for instruction by a few dive shops. Access to the quarry for divers is managed by the Virginia Outdoor Center, the canoe outfitters just down the road from the quarry. There are 2 platforms, boats, bus, car, and a van to see. Last year the admission was $15. You’d have to contact VOC since there is a locked gate that controls access (about a mile up the hill from the quarry). Quarry map by Al Rios here: Rappahannock Quarry Dive Map
Pennsylvania: Just past Meyerstown is Willow Springs Quarry and the adjacent dive shop. Depths up to 45 feet, a sunken schooner, a caboose, an inverted milk truck that can be penetrated, and a steam shovel are some of the attractions there (underwater map). Showers and overnight camping are available.
To the east in Bethlehem is Dutch Springs Quarry. Air and camping is available. An airplane, Sikorsky helicopter, tanker truck, and school bus are some of the things you can dive on. The submerged attractions are connected with cables to guide your tour.
Raystown Lake located in Huntingdon county in Central Pennsylvania. This is a 27 mile long lake covering 8,300 acres.
Just south of Harrisburg is Bainbridge Sportsman's Club which maintains a dive shop, quarry and camping. Area A has 120 foot diving while area B has up to 50 foot. Submerged boats, cement mixer, a plane, bulldozer, barn, bus and platforms give a variety of objects to dive on. Both areas now have easy access and plenty of parking. This quarry is closed to diving as of august 2015 when it was sold to the neighboring waste processing plant.
Guppie Gulch Delta, PA (south of Lancaster on PA/MD line). On-site dive shop. Depths to 100 feet. Several boats, some penetration; small work trains; motorcycles. Primitive camping.
Edinville is near Chambersburg, PA. Depth to 25'. Mrs Conner passed away in 2005 and the quarry is closed to divers.
Wabanks Quarry Lancaster boasts clear water and many attractions connected by cable. Temporarily closed. Depths are 18 to 105'.
West Virginia: Mount Storm, also called Vepco Lake. 39 miles south west of Cumberland Maryland. Depths to over 100 ft. Water is heated up to 92F by a coal fired power plant on the opposite shore. Viz is good, catfish. Diver entry from side of parking lot, must have dive float. All shore access is currently prohibited.
Millville and Bakerton are dive-able private quarries between Charlestown and Harpers Ferry. You must get permission from the owners to dive these. Millville contains much original and unexplored quarry equipment. It is almost one mile long and has 2 easy access points. (easy access is now blocked) Bakerton is a collection of quarries and deep (hazardous) caves. A Bakerton resident must give you permission to dive. Access is very restricted and there is no cave diving allowed.
North Carolina: Dive off Nags Head and Cape Hatteras on shipwrecks from World War I and II. This area off the Outer Banks is called the Graveyard of the Atlantic and is the resting place for over 2,000 wrecks. Hatteras boats include: Under Pressure Lion's Paw
Morehead City and Beaufort near Cape Lookout are homes for many dive shops and charter boats including the Olympus and Discovery dive operations. George Purifoy of the Olympus is the finder of the first German U-boat U352 sunk by a Coast Guard cutter in World War II. The dive season runs May through October. Many wrecks lie off the shore in depths of 60 to 140 feet in gulf stream warm (75F to 84F) water. Driving time from Frederick is about 7 hours. Large groups will have to plan their trip very early because the charter season fills up fast. The waters off Southport and Wilmington on Cape Fear offer a number of good wrecks and meglodon shark teeth diving. Driving time is about the same.
Diver Down, Bobby Cox in Atlantic Beach. The "Diver Down" is a 42 foot long fully U.S. Coast Guard certified crew boat capable of carrying up to 18 divers to the various shipwrecks off Morehead City. She is powered by quiet efficient twin Caterpillar 375 Diesel engines. She will run over 19 kts. in the ocean. There is a large swim platform on the stern of the boat with a large easy to get to stainless steel fin ladder and hand rails for easy access back onto the boat after your dives. The boat has ample space for all divers, large ice cooler for drinks and lunch, complete set of marine electronics, and the most fun and helpful crew. 30% nitrox is available at Bob's fill station. Captain Bob passed away in April 2014. The boat was sold and moved to Florida.
Spearit Dive Charters in Topsail Beach runs a six pack that has evolved from hunting fish to hunting megladon sharks teeth. Website is down. I suspect Spearit is gone. This page has links to organizations that may help you find a dive boat in Wilmington NC for shark teeth diving.
Blue Stone Dive resort is a quarry and dive shop near Thomasville. Some of Blue Stone's features include: wrecks, platforms for classes, confined water area, a floating dock with attached platform, underwater buoyancy course, and a man-made underwater cavern.
Fantasy Lake Scuba Park in Wake Forest, NC. Excellent freshwater quarry diving. Quarry map by Al Rios here: Fantasy Lake
The Brass Anchor conducts trips all year round to West Palm Beach , Pompano,
and the Keys. These are some of the prime dive spots in Florida.
Our favorite operators:
Lady Go Diver Dixie Divers This boat was our first dive boat used in Florida many years ago. It's had a few different names and many owners over the years but has continued to be one of our favorites on the Florida east coast. It can handle large groups, has sturdy ladders, and goes to the favorite recreational sites. Make sure you get WRITTEN confirmation of your reservation with this outfit.
Capt James Bostwick email@example.com 941-321-0852 aristakatcharters Venice Beach (shark teeth)
Parrot Island Scuba Fathoms of Fun (Pompano). Fathoms of Fun is BACK! Renamed to the O Sea D "The Big Boat". Well the rumors are true, O Sea D is ready to go. Our US Coast Guard Certified vessel is a spacious 40' dive boat with all of the amenities.
Miss Conduct (Pompano, check his dive sites link),
SE Florida Dive Boats
Spiegel Grove is one huge artificial reef we have gone to in the past few years. Latest report is: Carysfort reef in Key largo is still good following the 2005 hurricane season. The Spiegel Grove is now upright and much more interesting. The Duane is still one of the best east coast wreck dives.
Caribbean: The Brass Anchor is a PADI Travel agent. Resorts in Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bonare, Caymans, Cozumel, St. Croix, St. Kitts, Turks & Caicos, and the Dancer fleet offer luxurious dive vacations. We have over 16 years experience in booking and running scuba trips to the islands.
Some links and phone numbers:
Broken link? Corrections?
firstname.lastname@example.org. I noticed I get MANY hits to this page. If your favorite
dive destination should be on this list, send me a link. There are many more
options in the area that may not be listed here.
See the site's web site or contact them directly for admission prices.