A 30-Hour Dive for The Dive Shop’s 30th Anniversary

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Story By Errol Duplessis*


Jeff about to start his dive

28-29 July 2012 — Jeff Knapp, Assistant Manager of PADI Five Star IDC, The Dive Shop in Richmond, Virginia, USA succeeded in his effort to do a 30-hour marathon scuba dive at Lake Rawlings. Jeff entered the water at approximately 9:03 am EST Saturday morning on 28 July, and remained underwater for 30 hours until 3:08 pm EST Sunday afternoon, 29 July.

Jeff has been with The Dive Shop since 2008 where he began his career in diving. Since then, Jeff has conducted more than 700 scuba dives at Lake Rawlings, the Caribbean and as far north as Lake Superior.

Jeff was supported by his team of safety divers, John Lyerly and Jason Swenson, and a surface team who monitored Jeff’s every breath, and who supplied water and a pate and liquid diet throughout the marathon every one or two hours. Jeff wore a full-face mask, and was able to communicate his needs and safety information by microphone to his surface team.

Jeff with his dive buddiesJeff played dominoes and cards underwater with friends who just wanted to come hang out with him. He was stationed at a depth of 22′ to 25′ underwater, and he was never bored. I visited with Jeff from 10:00-11:00 pm EST on Saturday night. We played dominoes, and I got a chance to see Jeff feed himself from his food pouch. The food is sucked from a hard straw into his mouth underwater. But first, he removed his full-face mask, and substituted it for a standard dive mask in order to see, eat and drink. Once done, Jeff removed the standard mask and switched back to the full-face mask underwater. It was a marvel to watch him clear the full-face mask and not waste one bubble of precious air.

This was an event for the record books of Virginia. For sure, Jeff performed the longest underwater scuba dive in open water at Lake Rawlings, and the longest scuba dive in a lake in the state of Virginia. He may have performed the longest underwater scuba dive in a lake in all of the United States north of Florida. The longest saltwater scuba dive on record was performed by Will Goodman of the United Kingdom for 48 hours in Indonesia on 13 January 2010. The longest freshwater scuba dive was performed by Allen Sherrod of Groveland, Florida on 27 September 2010, and it lasted 120 hours.

Divers applaud Jeff (center)

This underwater marathon was the culmination activity to honor 30 years of continuous service to the diving community by The Dive Shop of Richmond, the oldest dive shop in the state of Virginia. Jeff gave one hour of bottom time for every year of existence to his employer. Jim McNeal and his lovely wife, Lynne, are the owners of The Dive Shop. Following Jeff’s marathon and epic scuba dive, the Dive Shop hosted a delicious banquet at Lake Rawlings for friends and supporters to celebrate and honor the shop’s successes over the years.



* Errol Duplessis is the President and CEO of Lake Rawlings, and located in Brunswick County, Virginia.