Scuba diving and paddle boarding in a submerged quarry at Pelham’s Blue Water Park? Yes you can.

Man and woman Scuba diving at Blue Water Park Pelham
Underwater adventures at Blue Water Park. Photo via Blue Water Park Facebook

When you think about scuba diving in Alabama, there’s a good chance you’ll be thinking about the Gulf Coast shoreline and dreaming about that next beach vacation. But did you know there’s great scuba diving closer to Birmingham?

Submerged quarry at Blue Water Park, Pelham
A 26 acre submerged quarry provides plenty of space to explore. Photo via Blue Water Park Web

Blue Water Park, a former quarry in Pelham, provides fun underwater exploration opportunities to practice and learn how to scuba dive. It features training facilities for instructors and students of all ages and skill levels. You can even paddle board on the lake!

Formerly known as Dive Alabama, the popular diving spot which had changed hands on a handful of occasions since the early 2000’s was purchased by Mark DiGiorgio, owner of Scubaadventures Inc, in Birmingham, and reopened in 2016 to provide ‘the premium inland diving experience for the southeast’.

When the park opened, Mark said;

“The park is designed as a place for scuba instructors to come and teach students scuba diving in a controlled environment, and yet give the instructor a wide variety of training facilities like water depth and platforms. And then we offer the average diver a facility to come and practice their skills”.

Where is Blue Water Park?

Blue Water Park is located at 100 Industrial Park Drive, Pelham, AL 35124, which is about 18 miles (or 25 minutes) away from downtown Birmingham. Doesn’t that sound better than a five hour drive to the beach?

The star of the show is the quarry

Submerged quarry
The submerged quarry is the star of the show. Photo via Blue Water Park Web

The 26 acre submerged quarry at Blue Water Park ranges in depth from 4 to 130 feet, with an average depth of 100 feet.

Mark said,

“As a former quarry that’s cut to different levels, it makes great scuba training”, “A lot of people don’t actually know the lake is here. Unlike the area lakes around, this lake is spring fed, so the water tends to be clearer and a little cooler.”

Submerged quarry
The lake is spring fed meaning it’s a little cooler and clearer than area lakes. Photo via Blue Water Park Web

During the summer months, the surface temperature stays around 86 F. The bottom temperature, however, always remains in the 52 F to 54 F range. Visibility ranges from approximately 25 feet in the summer to 50-100 feet in the winter.

You don’t have to own your own diving gear

Scuba diving gear
Gear rental is available. Photo via Blue Water Park Facebook

Mark explains that the park can “provide full service for anybody doing any kind of scuba training, whether it be technical or recreational scuba, we provide everything that you’ll need in order to do that. We have a full line of rental equipment. The only thing you need is to have your scuba card, or come here with an instructor.”    

If you do have your own equipment, the park can fill SCUBA tanks and NITROX fills as well.

Scuba diving training at Blue Water Park
Scuba training in action. Photo via Blue Water Park Facebook

Explore sunken treasures

Submerged truck at Blue Water Park
Explore sunken objects – including a few realistic looking skeletons! Photo via Blue Water Park Facebook

There’s no hidden gold (that we know about) but you can still feel like a treasure hunter while exploring underwater attractions such as sunken sailboats, cars, a school bus and even fire trucks!

Can you find them all?

Chart of underwater exploration opportunities at Blue Water Park
Chart of underwater exploration sites. Photo via Blue Water Park Web

There’s an abundance of aquatic life in the lake

Freshwater jellyfish swimming in quarry lake
A freshwater jellyfish. Photo via Blue Water Park Facebook

Just as you would expect to see a host of creatures in the ocean, you can also expect to see lots of aquatic life in the lake, including; bass, sunfish, catfish, bream, bluegill, Japanese koi, carp, freshwater jellyfish, and turtles.

I didn’t even know there were freshwater jellyfish!

It’s not all about scuba diving, they have paddle boarding too

People paddle boarding
Paddle board at the quarry lake. Photo via Blue Water Park Facebook

There’s an above water way of enjoying the lake too. You can bring your own paddle board or kayak and enjoy the lake for a $7 entrance fee. They also have rentals at $15/h.

Two women doing paddle board yoga
Paddle board yoga tuition is also available. Photo via Katelyn Rae on Blue Water Park Facebook

Ever wanted to give paddle board Yoga a go?  Blue Water Park have teamed up with a local instructor to bring you that opportunity.

More information

Scuba divers float on surface of lake
Learning to Scuba Dive is fun! Photo via Blue Water Park Facebook

This might well be the best alternative when you can’t make the ocean.

Divers can enjoy a full day of diving in the quarry from $27 per day.

Beginners and learners can be connected with experienced instructors to help gain their diving certificates. A range of training plans, from Discover Scuba to Dive Master Certifications (PADI) are offered.

The park offers equipment rentals so all you need to do is turn up.

Opening hours:

November- March: By Appointment Only. Mon.- Wed.: By Appointment Only. Thurs.- Closed. Fri.: 10am-5pm. Sat.: 9am-6pm . Sun.: 9am-5pm

Location: 100 Industrial Park Drive Pelham, AL 35124

Phone: 205.663.7428

Website: bluewaterparkal.com

So what are you waiting for? Dive right in!

Have you been? Tag us on social @bhamnow

Author: Jon Eastwood

Originally from Wales (UK) and a fluent Welsh speaker. Longtime sustainability and recycling champion. Former county recycling manager in the UK. Career highlights include introducing innovative recycling systems and achieving a point where households throw out trash just once a month. Competed in international coastal rowing championships and followed Wales throughout Europe in their Rugby and Soccer endeavours.