What does Nitrox do for diving?

What does Nitrox do for diving?

Ask yourself, why did you learn to scuba dive? Answers, such as: to see amazing marine life and travel the world to dive locations might come to mind. What if we told you that you could stay underwater longer and have shorter surface intervals! How? Read this article to find out what Nitrox does for diving?

What is Nitrox?

Nitrox, Enriched Air, EANx, they are all the same thing!

Until you become certified to dive with Nitrox, you are diving with regular air, the same air that we are breathing right now! This air consists of 21% oxygen and 78% nitrogen.

Nitrox, is regular air enriched with more oxygen, meaning, you are breathing and absorbing less nitrogen than when diving with regular air.

When diving with Nitrox, typically, the amount of oxygen added to the air is either 32% or 36%. This is called the “mix.”

What does breathing less Nitrogen mean for you?

Dive profiles on Nitrox allow you to potentially enjoy longer dives than dive profiles on regular air. However, diving Nitrox does not change the way you breathe, so frequent checks of your air gauges during the dive is still important.

By breathing and absorbing less nitrogen during the dive, you will enjoy shorter surface intervals, which means less time out of the water between each dive of that given day.

Longer dives and shorter surface intervals benefit you when on multi-day trips with repetitive dives, such as when staying at a resort or on a liveaboard.

What Does Nitrox Do For Diving Filling

If you are booking a trip where you may be doing 4 or 5 dives a day, consider becoming Nitrox certified and enjoy the benefits!

The additional benefit of breathing Nitrox is the reduced risk of decompression sickness (DCS).

How much longer are the dives?

When you ask to dive with Nitrox, the dive shop operator may ask what mix you want, or they will notify you that they offer a 32% or 36% mix. To ensure you know what percentage you are diving with you will analyze the mix in the Nitrox tank. You will then set your dive computer or dive watch to dive the profile given for that mix.

For example; when diving with air to 18m (59ft) using the Recreational Dive Planner, you would have a maximum no stop limit of 56 minutes on a single dive.

For the same depth, but using a 32% mix of Nitrox, you would have a no stop limit of 95 minutes. Potentially, this means you would have up to an additional 39 minutes’ dive time on this profile compared with air.  It is extremely important to monitor your air gauges regularly throughout the dive. You may choose to dive more shallow depths to extend your actual dive time.

No stop limit refers to the amount of time from descent to ascent, without a safety stop. It is important to mention that it is recommended to perform a safety stop after each and every dive.

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What Does Nitrox Do For Diving Underwater

How does diving Nitrox reduce your risk of decompression sickness (DCS)?

By increasing the amount of oxygen in the breathing gas, you absorb less nitrogen.

For example;

Dives with regular air have 21% oxygen and 78% nitrogen

Dives with a Nitrox mix of 32% have 32% oxygen and 68% nitrogen

Dives with a Nitrox mix of 36% have 36% oxygen and 64% nitrogen

The body metabolizes oxygen easier than nitrogen. By reducing the amount of nitrogen in the breathing gas, Nitrox can lower the risk of DCS. It is important to note, the risk of DCS is not eliminated completely and other factors can contribute to DCS.

Does Nitrox allow you to dive deeper?

The short answer is no. Diving with Nitrox comes with additional safety considerations. Due to the elevated oxygen levels in Nitrox, there are maximum operating depths (MOD) limits on Nitrox. These elevated oxygen levels if breathed at greater depths than recommended can cause oxygen toxicity. Therefore, it is extremely important to adhere to all safety recommendations and practices.

For example; a Nitrox mix with 32% oxygen has an MOD of 112 feet, and 36% Nitrox has a maximum depth of 95 feet.

What Does Nitrox Do For Diving Computer

Using dive computers instead of Nitrox dive tables for your Nitrox dives.

Most dive computers or dive watches have a Nitrox setting with a default of 32% and 36% mix. For every nitrox dive, you will analyze the mix in the scuba tank you are using. As well as the default mix setting, more advanced computers and watches allow you to program your dive computer or watch with the mix analyzed. Both types of dive computer or watch will determine the maximum depth and dive time based on the mix percentage.

Are you excited and ready to dive using Nitrox?

It is important to become Nitrox certified and learn how to dive safely when breathing this enriched air.

Some things you will learn:

  •         Techniques for getting more dive time by using Nitrox.
  •         Why Nitrox has extra equipment considerations.
  •         How to dive safely with Nitrox, including managing oxygen exposure.
  •         How to tell what Nitrox mix is in your scuba tank, by analyzing the mix.
  •         How to set your dive computer or dive watch.

If it has been some time since you took a certification course or, you became Open Water certified on vacation, then search for and support your local dive center to become Nitrox certified. They can be a great resource for your diving needs. If, you are going on vacation and want to become Nitrox certified, check out the article on how to choose a dive center.

To conclude, what does Nitrox do for diving? The benefits of Nitrox allow you to dive for longer, have shorter surface intervals and reduce your risk of decompression sickness; all within safe diving recommendations and practices. Regular monitoring of your air gauges is still necessary and diving with Nitrox does not allow you to dive deeper. To enjoy these benefits become Nitrox certified with a reputable dive center and learn how to dive safely when breathing with Nitrox.

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