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September 21, 2023

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Portage Quarry offers suba lessons that are said to be better than Lake Erie’s

University students flock to Portage Quarry for its beach during the summer, but a passion for scuba diving continues to be the main focus of Jeff Rice, owner of the quarry.

After getting certification from PADI [Professional Association of Diving Instructors] a $450 scuba diving package can be purchased for the quarry. The package includes all rental gear, air fills for tanks, weights for suits, skill work lessons in shallow water, confined water dive training, four open water dives and a lifetime scuba diving certification card, said Monica Lynn, office manager of the quarry.

Scuba diving is offered at the quarry seven days a week, although Saturdays and Sundays are the busiest days, said Lynn.

“If someone is new to scuba diving they are likely to come on Saturdays and Sundays, because they can get the opportunity to meet up with more experienced divers,” Lynn said.

Bob Rajner, quarry scuba diving instructor, can be found most weeks participating in dives with other experienced scuba divers, as well as instructing people that are new to the activity.

He has been scuba diving since he ended his military service in 1959 and a friend got him interested, said Rajner.

In Northwest Ohio Quarries, like the one in Portage, offer a good alternative to Lake Erie, said Rajner.

“If you have to choose between Lake Erie and a quarry, the quarry will always be the better choice,” Rajner said. “It is a really good training place and it offers the opportunity to keep your skill up.”

The quarry would not be what it is today without the personal drive of Rice, said Lynn.

“His main focus has always been scuba diving—that is his passion,” Lynn said.

Scuba diving has been offered at the quarry since Rice purchased it in 1978.

Since the opening, scuba diving attractions have been added to the bottom of the quarry for scuba divers to explore, including: a jet, airplane, school bus, mock cemetery, three-car wreck, cannon and a semi-truck, said Lynn.

University senior Brittany Daniels has always heard of rumors about ships being sunk in the quarry, but has never looked into scuba diving to see for herself, said Daniels.

“It is kind of eerie to think about all of the things that could be down there,” Daniels said. “It would be really fun to dive out here and check it out.”

The International Legends of Diving Festival will offer attendees a chance to learn about the history of scuba diving from people that experienced it firsthand, said Lynn.

“We have guest scuba divers come and tell their stories in their own words,” said Lynn. “It is really about telling their personal history while they are still around to tell it.”

Ellsworth Boyd, the 2013 festival special guest, has collected data on shipwrecks around the world for 27 years. Other guests include Alec Peirce, Robert Croft and Victor Worst, according to

The festival will be held August 10 and 11 at the quarry.

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