What Are the Benefits of Nitrox for Scuba Divers?
There are many benefits in using Nitrox while scuba diving, as well as risks and considerations for nitrox use.
1. LONGER BOTTOM TIMES
Recreational nitrox (21 - 40% oxygen) contains a lower percentage of nitrogen than air. The reduced percentage of nitrogen in recreational nitrox allows divers to extend their no-decompression limits by reducing nitrogen absorption.
2. SHORTER SURFACE INTERVALS
A diver using nitrox absorbs less nitrogen on a given dive than one who uses air. This means that the nitrox diver has less nitrogen to off-gas during the surface interval, which can shorten the required surface interval drastically.
3. LONGER REPETITIVE DIVE TIMES
Nitrox becomes especially useful for divers who engage in more than one dive per a day. A diver using nitrox will have a longer allowable bottom time on a repetitive dives than a diver using air because the diver using nitrox has absorbed less nitrogen.
Many divers claim to feel less exhausted after a dive on nitrox than after a comparable dive on air. By reducing a diver's nitrogen absorption, nitrox may also reduce a diver's post-dive exhaustion. This is not a proven fact, but enough divers claim to feel this effect that it is definitely a consideration.
Who should take this course?
The PADI Enriched Air Diver course is PADI’s most popular specialty scuba course. Why? Because scuba diving with enriched air nitrox gives you less decompression time, especially on repetitive scuba dives. If staying down longer and getting back in the water sooner sounds appealing, then don’t hesitate to become an enriched air diver.
If you’re a PADI (Junior) Open Water Diver who is at least 12 years old, you can enroll in the Enriched Air Diver Specialty course. Note that in some regions the minimum age is older than 12.
What will you learn?
You’ll learn why diving with air that has higher oxygen and lower nitrogen content gives you more bottom time, along with enriched air equipment considerations. During a practical session, and two optional (or required) scuba dives, you’ll:
- Discuss managing oxygen exposure.
- Practice analyzing oxygen content in your scuba tank.
- Set your dive computer for diving with enriched air nitrox.
What gear will you use?
Most modern scuba equipment and dive computers can be used with enriched air, but your PADI Instructor will let you know if your gear meets manufacturer recommendations and local requirements. However, scuba tanks must meet oxygen service standards and be dedicated for use with enriched air. You’ll practice using oxygen analyzers and special cylinder decals. Our staff will explain other equipment you may need to enjoy enriched air diving.