Dive Site Plan for J.M. Robertson Quarry Dive Plan

in Blanch, North Carolina

by Jamie Kuhn

Background and History of the Islander:

1540 High Rock School Rd,
Blanch, NC 27212

Opening Hours:
JMR quarry is open to members all year round. The site requires a membership to the Piedmont Dive Rescue Association. They will then provide a key and an ID card to access this and three other quarries.

Approximate Distance from Dayo Scuba Dive Center:
JMR Quarry is about nine hours and thirty minutes from Dayo Scuba Dive Center.

Entry Fee:
The PDRA Quarries are a members only group of quarries that are accessible through the Piedmont Dive Rescue Association. Memberships are available from approved local dive shops for $70.00 for a full year of access to all three quarries. Membership information can be found on the PDRA’s website:


Each quarry has primitive accommodations to include a bathroom, changing area, and picnic shelters and benches.

After you receive your key from the PDRA, access is granted through a locked gate at the entrance to each quarry, follow the road down to the main parking area and pavilions; the water is 100 feet down from the parking area, accessed via a walking slope and floating dock.

Amenities available:
• Gear benches, racks and changing facilities
• Picnic tables and pavilions
• Primitive restrooms

Water Conditions and what to expect:

JMR quarry is a typical rock quarry with a circular road/slope that goes to the bottom. Outside of the slope are drop offs from the cliff walls of the quarry. There are training platforms at 20 ‘just off of the sloping road. The max depth varies between 85’ and 90’. The temperature on the bottom holds stable in the low 40 degrees Fahrenheit all year round. Surface temperature varies based on outside temperature but can reach high 70’s to low 80’s. There is usually a thermocline about 20’.

JMR Quarry has several submerged objects for diver’s entertainment. Objects range from boats, a school bus that is open and can be swam through, and its most widely known aircraft cockpit at approximately 20ft.

* All divers must show proof of certification before applying for a PDRA membership (or be under the supervision of a diving instructor). Dive within your certification level.

* Dive within your depth limitations, i.e. open water divers are restricted to a depth limit of 60 feet.

Divers can gear up at the pavilion or on the benches located on the platform. Giant stride entries are safe from the forward point on the dock. Take only the gear needed on the dive down to the water or the dock. Lock all other gear and items in your car, as the PDRA is not responsible for anything lost or stolen. All buddy teams should do a pre-dive check before entering the water and buddy checks before descending.

Maintain visual contact with your buddy or instructor at all times, and maintain proper buoyancy and to avoid silting the area and ruining the visibility for everyone. Perform a good safety stop at 15ft/3M after all dives.

Water temperature and condition:

Water temperature is in the low 40’s on the bottom year round. The surface varies with the seasons from high 70’s to low 80’s in the summer. A 3mm wetsuit with hooded vest or thicker is recommended for the above the thermocline. A 5-7mil or a dry suit is appropriate for the bottom for extended times.

Visibility ranges from 20-50+ feet. It is best early in the morning, before the crowds get there. Winter diving is usually best because it isn’t dove as frequently

Special notes:

Be aware of divers on deco in the area. Decompression training can be conducted in the quarry. An exiting diver always has the right of way over entering divers. Please be courteous to other exiting divers.

There are ropes that lead to certain items underwater. The school bus is located on a wall in the northeast corner of the quarry. It can be found by swimming the wall.

What wildlife you can expect to see:

Among the listed objects that have been sunk, several paddle fish were recently released into the quarry. Bass, catfish, and sunfish are all stocked in the quarry. Fishing is not permitted.


Do not harass the fish or turtles!

Emergency Procedures:
If anyone becomes low on air, signal your buddy with the appropriate hand signal and begin your ascent. In the rare and unusual case of an out of air situation, signal your buddy and commence sharing air. Maintain buoyancy and ascend slowly, remembering to breathe continuously.

In the event that you are separated from your buddy follow standard procedure: search for one min (remember to look up and around, and for bubbles also). If you are unable to find your buddy ascend and meet up on the surface. Your buddy should also be following these procedures.

If your buddy is not on the surface within three minutes, contact others in your group to find out if he or she has been seen/already exited the water. Air supply allowing, search the area where last seen. If the diver is not found, activate EMS.

Emergency Contact Information:
911 - for all emergencies. Advise them that you are at the JMR Quarry.

DAN – 1-919-684-4326

Always call DAN after 911 in the case of a dive emergency which may require medical attention. DAN will refer you to the closest available Hyperbaric Chamber.

In case of a Diving emergency:
The closest Hyperbaric Chamber to JMR Quarry is at:
UNC Chappel Hill or in Ashville NC.

DAN should be called in the case of ANY diving emergency!

Good luck and safe diving!