Scuba Diving and Snorkeling Underwater Tanks – The Benefits of Diving with Nitrox

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Since it is obvious that humans cannot breathe underwater, you should always dive with a scuba tank in tow. Usually, these tanks hold trimix, nitrox, or ordinary filtered air. If divers like to spend more time underwater, they usually put nitrox air in their tanks. However, what is nitrox actually and how does it benefit scuba divers?

What is Nitrox?

Nitrox is nitrogen combined with oxygen, exactly as the name suggests. Since its oxygen content is higher, it is often referred to as Enriched Air Nitrox (EANx). Its unique component distinguishes it from other typical diving gasses.

This breathing gas is used by both technical and recreational divers.

Because it contains more oxygen, this breathing gas helps you absorb less nitrogen during recreational diving. Nitrox blends typically have an oxygen content of greater than 21%, but not more than 40%.

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Nitrox I and Nitrox II are two nitrox-based mixes used in technical diving. Both mixtures include only air and pure oxygen. This combination is found in 32% of Nitrox I and 36% of Nitrox II. Additionally, 68% and 64% of them include nitrogen.

Nitrox Gear

Nitrox Gas
Benefits of Nitrox Gas

Most equipment works with both standard and nitrous air mixtures. On the other hand, you should confirm that your regulator is compatible with both if you are using your equipment. Using a titanium regulator would be the main source of worry. These oxidize at lower concentrations and are ineffective in an oxygen-rich atmosphere. To distinguish it from the divers’ tanks 6, you will need to explicitly identify it for nitrox for those who have their tanks.

A diving center will supply everything if you are renting gear from them. Before the dive, you’ll see that your tank is prominently marked for nitrox. You should always check your own air during your pre-dive check, even if you are diving with equipment from a store.

What are the benefits of Nitrox Diving Offer?

Why then should you use nitrox when diving? There are a few notable benefits, such as the following:

Extended Bottom Times

Nitrox users are able to stay underwater longer because they absorb less nitrogen. They also have a lower chance of developing decompression sickness. It’s important to remember that using gas to lower no-decompression limits can help older divers, those who have had decompression sickness, and those with physical injuries. In certain situations, it can even provide you with twice as much dive time at 50 to 100 feet.

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However, you should not dive deeper than your maximum depth or spend more time underwater if you are using a nitrox tank. When diving, you should also pay great attention to your depth gauge. Nitrox diving requires you to set a depth alarm on your dive computer if you have one. If you have sunk below your maximum depth, this alert will notify you right away.

Less Fatigue

Although the benefits of nitrox have not yet been shown by research, several divers claim to feel less fatigued after using it. However, a lot of divers think that a lower nitrogen content equals fewer microbubbles in the blood and less stress during decompression. Additionally, it might lessen your post-dive fatigue and depletion.

Extended Diving Durations

For divers who dive in interesting locations that scream for exploration, repetitive dive periods on air are usually quite short. However, you may increase the number of repeat dive times by absorbing less nitrogen on your initial nitrox dive. When you utilize the gas, you’ll also get around five extra minutes at 70 feet. Even while it might not seem like much, depending on your dive, those extra five minutes might be quite valuable.

Lesser Surface Intervals

You also have shorter surface intervals when you breathe nitrox. This is a huge benefit, particularly if you wish to go diving once more. Less nitrogen will need to be expelled, which can significantly shorten the time needed for surface de-gassing. However, before the dive, check the dive tables for the exact periods for surface intervals if you don’t want to endanger yourself or your dive partner.

Feel better after diving

This is one of the main reasons why divers pursue their Nitrox certification. Many divers who use EAN notes report feeling less tired and more alert after many dives. Studies that have attempted to test this idea 4, however, do not support this.

Although there isn’t any evidence to support it, many divers report feeling different after a dive when using nitrox. It is certainly worth the use of Nitrox for those who do.

Any diver can benefit from these advantages, although frequent divers will notice them more. For this reason, nitrox is frequently used by divemasters and instructors to mitigate the consequences of daily diving for work.

See our guide here to find out more about all the processes required to become a professional diver.

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Nitrox has benefits that divers on liveaboards will also experience. Liveaboard diving excursions often involve long days of diving, leaving divers exhausted at the conclusion of their vacation.

With longer dives and the ability to return to the water sooner, nitrox will allow you to fully enjoy the amazing setting of your vacation. Some will realize they still have a lot of energy left by their last dive.

What are the Disadvantages of Diving with Nitrox?

Nitrox diving has benefits, but it also has drawbacks and possible risks. In order to dive underwater safely and enjoy yourself, it’s just as important to understand these hazards and have the proper training in utilizing diving equipment. Before using nitrox for diving, you should think about the following drawbacks.

Not Suitable for Deep Diving

Prior to using nitrox in scuba diving, you will need to complete specialized training and acquire the necessary handling techniques. One common misperception among divers about these essential components is that they will facilitate deep diving. However, nitrox will become toxic at lower depths.

Your maximum depth when diving with an EANx combination varies because of the partial pressure of oxygen (PPO2). This is the pressure that the oxygen in the tank is at. you may compute the atmospheres absolute, or ATA, from this value. For no-decompression nitrox dives and deco dives, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recommends a maximum operating depth of 1.4 ATA and 1.6 ATA, respectively.

Your tank’s oxygen % will dictate when you hit 1.4 ATA and are unable to descent 2.

At the surface, where there is only one atmospheric pressure, you will have an ATA of.32 if you dive with the usual EANx32. The PPO2 will raise the ATA amount as you descend and increase the pressure. With this combination, you can often dive to 33 meters. Limits will be shallower in tanks with greater oxygen percentages.

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There is much to see at many dive sites, so your diving experience won’t be negatively impacted by limited depths. Shallower seas are often home to coral reefs and the creatures that live there.

You can always decide not to use nitrox for a dive if you want to go deeper.

Oxygen Toxicity

Overexposure to oxygen can result in oxygen poisoning. You run the risk of developing this illness if you use nitrox during recreational diving. Therefore, consider your oxygen limit before diving with the gas. This element addresses how much oxygen your lungs should be exposed to and for how long throughout your underwater experience.

Acute oxygen poisoning can cause a variety of symptoms, such as seizures and blurred vision. A diver experiencing convulsions may drown and ultimately perish from it. You may avoid oxygen poisoning by closely monitoring your maximum depth and total oxygen exposure.

Even though this is a dangerous disease, it may be prevented if you know your limitations and plan your dives properly. To assist you with planning, there are dive tables designed especially for nitrox diving. In the Nitrox course, you will learn how to use them.

Furthermore, a lot of dive computers include the ability to monitor nitrox and compressed air restrictions. You may program your computer to use your EAN gas percentages if it has a nitrox mode. This will allow it to determine your dive time, depth, and surface intervals.

Check out our guide to the top diving computers to locate a computer that can calculate nitrox and compressed air.

Risk of gas narcosis

One of the most widespread myths regarding nitrox diving is that you won’t get “narc’d.”Divers refer to nitrogen narcosis by this word. It is an erratic sense of drunkenness that occurs during deeper dives but may also occur during shallower dives. This sensation delays reaction times and affects judgment, yet it is not immediately harmful.

Although divers frequently associate this sensation with nitrogen, narcosis can be caused at deep by any compressed gas. Because they don’t dive as deep, divers may be able to avoid becoming narc’d using EAN mixture. But it’s still conceivable 6.

Accessibility and cost

It takes more time and work on the part of dive shops to create safe and measured nitrox tanks. They have to test the nitrogen and oxygen ratios precisely and take care not to breathe any tainted air.

Dive shops can accomplish this in three ways, but each is more expensive. To create their mixes, they require a separate compressor, and some will require shipping in pure oxygen.

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As such, it will be more challenging to locate a store that sells EANx mixes when traveling in various areas. When they do, those who run the systems 7 levy additional fees to offset their costs.

Diving Nitrox vs Air: Which Gas Should You Use?

We’ve discussed the many benefits and disadvantages of nitrox diving, but there are two additional things you should think about before utilizing this gas: availability and cost. For two reasons, nitrox diving is usually more expensive than standard diving with filtered air:

Specialized equipment and methods are used by dive shop staff and certified divers to produce the gas.

The cost of pure oxygen is comparatively high.

Additionally, nitrox is not often found in most dive shops or locations, despite its increasing popularity among recreational divers. Naturally, compressed air is still used in scuba tanks for non-technical diving.

Getting Nitrox Certification

You run the risk of getting hurt while nitrox diving. You should thus receive specialized training for it. You can learn how deep you can go with nitrox with proper training. Additionally, when you know how to utilize the gas correctly, diving will be safer and more enjoyable, just like when you learn about diving equipment and how to use it.

You can learn the following skills in an Enriched Air Nitrox course:

  • Calculating the amount of oxygen you breathe in
  • Determining the nitrox capacity of your tank
  • Using equipment and specialized air tables to create enriched air
  • Putting the appropriate labels on your diving gear
  • Putting gasoline in your tank
  • Setup your dive computer to do nitrox diving

An Enriched Air Diver Certification or Nitrox Certification course is eventually taken by many divers with Open Water certification. For those who want to become nitrox divers, PADI, TDI, and other diving certification agencies provide EANx training.

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