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Dutch Springs alternatives
LatitudeAdjustment - 3/10/2022 7:56 AM
Category: Training
Replies: 2

With Dutch restricting who can dive you need to look to alternatives

For many in NJ I never understood why they did the long drive to Dutch. We have an ocean with many places like the back bay of Shark River available for skill and equipment checks, okay it’s shallow, limited viz, you’ll need to rinse the gear and you can only get one dive in during slack high tide.

Is Willow Springs still open? Their website seems dated

Bainbridge’s website is gone :( The last review was in 2017

Divers Academy International is permanently closed as of 12/30/21 so we can’t call them and ask. Maybe some locals can go test the waters

Still unconfirmed if this 40 acre quarry is or will be open to the public, Ray

In between Lakehurst and Whiting NJ is an old sand quarry that is closed to the public but used by the NJ State Police for dive training. There has been talking going on for years about it becoming a park. If it’s a county or town park then we have a chance but NJ state parks are closed to scuba diving. We’ve already had that discussion on DB about the Devil’s Bathtub/Blue Hole in south Jersey which is in a State Park.

Any other suggestions?
MDW - 6/07/2022 8:43 PM
Willow is open, and has been all along. I went there (for the first time in like 20 years) in 2020 and 2021, and the land portion of the complex has been transformed into a fancy landscaped wedding venue (except for the small area to the left where diving has traditionally taken place, and still does). From what I have read, in 2022, the owner of Willow has outsourced management of the diving to Lancaster SCUBA, who have put in aerators to help clean up the vis and made some other improvements and upgrades underwater. I look forward to seeing this the next time I get a chance to drive down there.

Bainbridge has, indeed, been closed for many years; Wabank (if you remember that one) has been closed even longer (they closed it "temporarily" for construction on an adjacent property about 20 years ago and it never reopened for diving).

Never heard of DAI.

We have occasionally done some diving at Round Valley Reservoir near Lebanon, NJ. It’s cold, they limit the number of divers per day, you have to be out of the water and back at the Ranger station by 4pm, but it’s still better than staying dry all day.

My go-to spot this summer will be Alexandria Bay, NY (Thousand Islands). There are 3 shore dive sites there, and several boats to take you out to the wrecks. The best part is the water in July - Sept is 70 to 72 degrees from surface to bottom of the channel at 200+ft. We also went ice diving there last Feb and the water was a balmy 39 degrees; I was surprised I was actually warm in that temp water (very cold once out in the 14 degree air, though).

There are also some spots in the Lehigh and Delaware rivers, though I only recommend that to those of us who live right by Dutch. I would not suggest driving any distance to dive these rivers, but maybe you have something similar near you.
LatitudeAdjustment - 6/08/2022 7:08 AM
There used to be one in north Jersey near Washington called Farmers Quarry where you stopped at the farm house and gave them $5 per diver and then went diving.
It silted up very quickly :(
I can’t even find it on Google Earth anymore so I’m thinking it was used next as a landfill :(

Glad to hear they made improvements to Willow. When I dove there they used an old schoolbus for a changing room.