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Breathing Easy

You may have heard a bit about this in your Open water Course, but definitely in your Advanced course. If not, learn how to unlock the hidden depths of your scuba diving adventures with the power of Nitrox! Dive into this comprehensive guide and discover the secrets to safer, longer, and more exhilarating underwater experiences.

What is Nitrox?

Nitrox is a gas mixture that contains oxygen and nitrogen. It’s used for recreational scuba diving, and also in technical diving to speed up decompression after diving for a long time, or at depth.

Nitrox has more oxygen than air, which means it reduces the risk of decompression sickness (DCS) when you’re underwater. This is because it reduces nitrogen’s ability to form bubbles in your bloodstream when you ascend from a dive–a process known as “off-gassing.”

The most common nitrox mixes contain either 32% or 36% oxygen by volume, called EAN32 (Equal Air Nitrox) or EAN36 (Equal Air Nitrox).

When to Use Nitrox

When you’re planning a dive, there are a number of factors to consider. For example, how deep do you want to go? What kind of marine life do you hope to see on your dive? And what type of equipment will be best for that particular dive?

When it comes to nitrox diving, one question often arises is whether or not this type of scuba diving is appropriate for the situation at hand. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at what kinds of dives are suitable for nitrox and why they might be important for divers who plan on using it in their future adventures underwater.

When Not to Use Nitrox

When planning your next scuba dive, it’s important to know that not all dives are suitable for Nitrox. For example, if you plan on doing a deep dive, then using EAN may not be the best option. Oxygen can become toxic at depth, so you need to be aware of your depth limits with a higher percentage of oxygen in your tank.

Where and How to Take a Course

If you’re interested in taking a nitrox course, several options are available. The first step is to decide which type of course, you want to take: recreational or technical. A recreational dive class will cover all the basics of scuba diving and prepare you for your certification dives, for instance PADI offers a good one that I have taught.

A technical dive class will teach more advanced skills such as deep diving and underwater navigation. If you already have some experience under your belt, then it’s possible that only one day may be necessary for both types of classes (depending on how much time has passed since your last certification).

For most people who have never gone scuba diving before, however–or those who haven’t been underwater in years. It’s best to sign up for two days’ worth of training rather than one long day or weekend session alone because this allows time for practice exercises during each session so that students know what they’re doing when they hit open waters later down the road.

Relevant Statistics

If you’re a scuba diver, you’ve probably heard of Nitrox. But what exactly is it? And how can it benefit your diving experience? Let’s take a look at the basics of nitrox use and dive into some more advanced information about this gas mixture.

Nitrox is simply air with added oxygen (O). The exact ratio depends on what kind of Nitrox you are using.

EAN32 contains 11% more oxygen than standard air. The advantage of using these enriched mixtures over regular compressed air comes from their ability to reduce nitrogen absorption by reducing your exposure time at depth without affecting your decompression schedule or requiring any special equipment beyond an accurate pressure gauge (which should be part of every scuba diver’s setup anyway).

The popularity of nitrox varies widely based on location; it’s much more common in some countries than others.

Diverse Perspectives

Scuba divers have a wide range of opinions when it comes to nitrox diving. Professional divers often prefer EAN because of its increased safety and reduced risk of decompression sickness (DCS). Recreational divers are more likely to use enriched air for their dives, as it allows them to dive for longer, reduces surface interval times, and leaves them feeling less tired.

Safety Tips for Nitrox Divers

Nitrox diving is a safe and enjoyable way to get more out of your scuba experience. But with any new activity, there are some safety considerations that you should be aware of before you dive.

  1. Always analyze your nitrox mix before diving to ensure it matches the blend specified on your tank and dive plan.
  2. Use a dedicated nitrox tank and equipment, and clearly label them to avoid confusion and cross-contamination.
  3. Monitor your depth and time carefully to avoid exceeding your maximum operating depth and no-decompression limits.
  4. Plan your dives conservatively and always have a backup plan in case of equipment failure or emergencies.
  5. Be aware of your body’s oxygen exposure and follow the recommended surface intervals between dives to prevent oxygen toxicity.
  6. Always have a reliable dive buddy, and communicate your dive plan, depth, and air supply regularly throughout the dive.
  7. Maintain your equipment regularly and have it serviced by a qualified technician to ensure it is functioning properly.
  8. Avoid diving after consuming alcohol or taking medication that may affect your judgment or coordination.
  9. Practice good buoyancy control and avoid rapid ascents to reduce the risk of decompression sickness.
  10. Stay current with your dive training and certifications, and continue to learn and improve your skills through continuing education courses.

Tips for Choosing a Nitrox Course

If you’re interested in learning about nitrox diving, here are some tips to help you choose the right course:

  1. Look for an accredited course: Make sure the nitrox course you choose is accredited by a recognized organization like PADI, NAUI, or SSI. This ensures that the course meets industry standards and is taught by qualified instructors.
  2. Consider the course format: Nitrox courses are available in different formats, including traditional classroom-based courses, e-learning courses, and hybrid courses that combine online learning with in-person instruction. Choose a course format that fits your learning style and schedule.
  3. Check the instructor’s qualifications: Ensure that the instructor teaching the course is certified to teach nitrox diving and has experience teaching the course to others.
  4. Ask about the course content: Look for a course that covers the fundamentals of nitrox diving, including dive planning, analysis of nitrox mixes, and safe diving practices. The course should also provide hands-on training with nitrox equipment.
  5. Compare prices: Nitrox courses are offered at different prices by different dive centers and instructors. Compare prices and choose a course that fits your budget without compromising on quality.
  6. Read reviews: Look for reviews from other divers who have taken the nitrox course you’re considering. This can give you valuable insights into the course content, instructor quality, and overall experience.
  7. Consider the dive center’s location: Choose a dive center that is conveniently located and offers access to good dive sites suitable for nitrox diving.

By following these tips, you can choose a nitrox course that will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to enjoy safer and more exhilarating dives.

In Summary

Nitrox diving is a great way to get more out of your scuba experience. It has many benefits and a few risks, which are vital that you understand before diving with it.

Nitrox diving can be used as an alternative to air for decompression or to extend bottom times by reducing nitrogen absorption at depth. It can also reduce surface interval times between dives, and leave you feeling less tired.

Other benefits include increased safety margins when diving to a standard decompression table and a reduced chance of Nitrogen Narcosis.


*The Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA)
*Scuba Diving International
*Scuba Diver Life

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