Here you will find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about Lake Rawlings. For more information please do not hesitate to contact us.Hours Of Operation
Q. What is the average water temperature?
A. Our typical water temperatures are:
Q. Why is Lake Rawlings so clear?
A. Lake Rawlings is a spring-fed lake with a bottom composition of mostly granite rock, and 80% of the shoreline is also granite rock. Most of the water enters from the west and south walls at depths between 20’ to 40’. With so much granite rock, it is no wonder why the water remains so clear. For this reason, the sunlight penetrates to the bottom and warms the water quickly during the spring, summer and fall. This causes the thermocline (a transitional layer of warmer and colder water) to push deep very quickly. The algae (which is always present in the lake) thrive at the thermocline. When the thermocline reaches the floor of the lake on the shallow shelf, the algae mats the lakebed, trapping silt and sediment beneath it. Also, whenever sediment falls to the bottom of the lake from the surface, the algae traps the fallen sediment, acting like a giant filter. The algae dies in late fall, and visibility is improved even more. Average visibility at Lake Rawlings year-round is 30’-60’; during the winter, visibility is awesome and can be 100’ or more.
Q. Why does Lake Rawlings need coin boxes in the shower rooms?
A. We are always asked this question. Our objective is simply to control fuel waste, specifically the propane gas used to fuel the hot water system, which can be very expensive. If someone accidentally left a shower running, that act will cost us a significant amount of water loss and the fuel to heat it. If someone decided to take a very long shower, that will contribute to unneeded fuel and water waste, not to mention the potential for long lines to form on busy weekends. The use of quarters keeps everything in perspective, and you get 1.5 minutes of time for every quarter you put into the coin box. You will get a six-minute shower for four quarters. You control the length of the shower, and the water gets turned off when your shower is done. It is a win-win for everyone.
Q. Does Lake Rawlings offer scuba courses?
A. Yes we do. As a PADI affiliate, we offer the traditional and e-Learning PADI Open Water Scuba Course, which are weekend courses taught between year around. In addition, we also offer the PADI Adventures in diving leading to the Advanced Open Water Scuba Course and many more. For more advanced training we woul dlike to suggest the PADI Master Scuba Diver Challenge. This is a series of five PADI specialty courses leading to the Master Scuba Diver certification. Also, if someone wants to try scuba for the first time, we offer Discover Scuba Diving at little cost to the diver. We are also introducing our Have Scuba, Will Travel program in 2007, which is designed for colleges and universities; we will travel to bring scuba to their location. We have a small cadre of PADI scuba instructors who are available to teach these life transforming scuba courses throughout the year and on weekends at Lake Rawlings. However, it is always a good idea to plan ahead and schedule your scuba class as early as possible. For more information see our Training page or call the training office at (800) 279-8992.
Q. How did the fish get in the lake?
A. At one time or another, most of the fish were introduced to the lake by the property owners, who stocked it for private fishing. We re-stocked the lake on two occasions with large-mouth bass, fathead minnows and bream; eventually, the fathead minnows were all hunted to extinction (in our lake) by the large-mouth bass. Since we do not allow fishing (too dangerous), the fish became larger and healthier. For sure, the large-mouth bass, small-mouth bass, bream, and bluegills were stocked as prize quarry for private fishing. There are now trophy-sized large-mouth bass and bluegills in Lake Rawlings. There are also two species of clams and crayfish in the lake; these animals were not stocked. It is believed that the larvae of the clams and crayfish entered the lake through the many underground aquifers that feed Lake Rawlings. Remember, the lake itself is a disrupted aquifer.
Q. How did all the “good stuff” that we see get there?
A. Now that is a challenging question. The real cool ”stuff”, like Ms. Nikki and Wayne, our obligatory school busses, were pushed off the ledge facing the west side of the lake. After sinking to a depth of 45’, several huge lift bags were attached to these attractions to “float” them to a depth just below the surface. Each bus was then moved using lift bags, a johnboat and trawl motor for transporting these to the desired location in the lake where they were sunk; the air, when released from the lift bags, allowed the bus to sink to its eventual spot on the lake floor. This same technique was used in the sinking of the PADI Wagon, a sunken van, and several cars that adorn the bottom of the lake. Other “good stuff” like Rogue Forest, spoofing our fearless leaders, shows the faces of the many contributors who have provided attractions for the divers. Besides our many boats, to include The Replacements sailboat shell (the one used by Keanu Reaves in the movie of the same title), there are several training platforms, our resident Buzz the diver (who wears a BC and ski pole), two fish hatcheries for small-fry, two basketball courts, a CD forest, a swim-thru in shallow water, and a simulated kelp bed for improving buoyancy. The coolest may very well be the Sea Witch guardian of Dead Zone City and the many skulls adorning the rocks at depths of 45’-50’.
Q. How deep is Lake Rawlings?
A. Lake Rawlings is layered to three depths, with virtually most of the shallow shelf at the north end of the lake. Depth varies at the north end from 0’ depth to about 30’ depth. There is a small drop-off to 45’ depth inside a deep cove on the east side of the lake. There is also a shallow (and very narrow) shelf on the west side of the lake, where you will find a submerged forest, a cabin cruiser, and schools of small-mouth bass. There are dramatic drop-offs at the north side of the lake. On the south side of the lake, the water is perpetually clear (make sure your buoyancy is perfectly controlled before venturing towards that end of the lake). The walls at the south end and east side of the lake are sheer, great for exploration, with awesome visibility and many nooks and crannies to explore. Depth at the center of the lake funnels to 65’, where the bottom is mostly sandy; there is one deeper hole at 67’ near the drop-off below the off-shore floating platform. However, there is extreme silt in that location, and definitely not advisable for exploration. There is a buoy line attached to a grate buried in this silt.
Q. Are there any fun land activities to do at Lake Rawlings?
A. Yes, there are fun things to do at Lake Rawlings between dives, or after diving, or if you do not dive. You can play volleyball on our volleyball field, or hike on a path to the scenic Nottoway River about 1/2 mile from our property.
Q. Who owns Lake Rawlings?
A. Lake Rawlings is a trade name owned by The Rawlings Quarry Diving Company, who leases the property from the Rawlings Quarry LLC.
Q. Can pilots fly their private planes to Lake Rawlings from distant localities?
A. Pilots who do scuba dive can easily fly into the Lawrenceville-Brunswick Airport (off U.S. 58); it has a paved, lighted 3,200’ runway, fuel and instrument rating available. For convenience, it is highly recommended that these divers stay at the Brunswick Mineral Springs Bed & Breakfast in Lawrenceville, VA, which is one mile away from the airport. When you book with the B&B, the innkeepers will pick you up, and bring you back-and-forth to Lake Rawlings (for a modest fee, of course). Lake Rawlings is approximately 15 miles from the B & B.
Q. To what pressure is the standard scuba bottle filled at the Lake Rawlings fill station?
A. Standard aluminum air bottles (80 and 63 cu. ft.) are typically filled to 3000 PSI. In reality, our fill station is a dry station, which means that the whip is attached to the cylinder valve and the cylinder is filled standing up; it is not immersed in water, which would be a very complex and unnecessary procedure at our facility. All aluminum cylinders may be filled to a pressure range of 200 PSI plus or minus of the rated pressure, and we consider such a fill to be a safe and reliable fill. Our customers have the option to air check their bottle before leaving the Dive Shack with one of our air checkers. LP steel bottles are typically filled to the rated pressure of the bottle, plus or minus 100 PSI; and HP bottles are also filled to the rated pressure, plus or minus 200 PSI. If you, our customer, is ever dissatisfied with an air fill because we failed to meet our standard for an air fill as described, the fill is on the house (but please don't leave the Dive Shack and come back an hour later).
Q. How safe is the air fill station at Lake Rawlings?
A. It is safe and reliable. We have operated accident and incident free for more than 18 years, and few companies like us can boast of such a record for reliability and undeniable service. In fact, the frequency of use of our air fill station, when serving the needs of our dive shop and dive customers, is a sterling testimony of our safety record. Our filling area is marked for customers to stay at a safe distance during filling activity; and our five fill whips are each clipped to a steel S-hook attached to a steel bar for safe storage to prevent unwanted "whipping" from a spontaneously damaged whip. We check all scuba cylinders for a current visual inspection sticker and hydro date before filling the bottle.
Q. How often does Lake Rawlings test the air contained inside the storage bottles?
A. We test our air quarterly, and the test is performed in accordance with industry standards for Grade E air. We use a reputable air testing laboratory that tests for a variety of elements or particles that can be measured in the compressed air. Grade E air is the driest and purest air you can breathe, and is free of all harmful contaminants. Our air is stored inside nineteen storage bottles utilizing four banks: three banks for air, and one bank for nitrox (32%). These make up our entire cascade system. We store the air utilizing three air compressors (one 25 cfm, one 15 cfm and one 10 cfm), sometimes running all three simultaneously, or any one or two at a time. Each compressor has three state-of-the art filtering chambers containing a drier, purifier and contaminant separator. Each compressor is tested separately , and all storage banks (except the nitrox bank) are tested as a unit. Our testing procedures meet or exceed all industry standards resulting from hours of use by an air compressor system such as ours. The test results are posted next to our air fill station inside the Dive Shack, and these are available for your inspection at any time.