There is this rumor about Enriched Air Nitrox going around – that it gives you the possibility to dive deeper and longer as you can with normal air. The difference between normal air and Nitrox is the higher percentage of oxygen. The oxygen percentage lies above 21% but under 40%. As this rumor about Nitrox isn’t quite true – here we’ve got 5 facts about Nitrox and what advantages and disadvantages it gives you.
- Longer bottom times! So this part of the rumor is actually true. Nitrox allows you to stay longer underwater than normal air. This is due to the smaller amount of nitrogen that you absorb. It is the simple equation: less nitrogen = longer bottom time.
- This brings us to the second fact – shorter surface intervals. Of course, if you absorb less nitrogen your surface intervals shorten, because it takes less time to de-gas on the surface. If you are planning to dive multiple dives over multiple days this is a big advantage.
- Enriched Air also decreases the risk of decompression sickness. As said above, you are absorbing less nitrogen thanks to the higher oxygen rate in your tank, and the risks are therefore decreased. For people who had DCS before or who maybe are not very fit, this is a great advantage. You can simply reduce the risks by doing the same dive profile but on Nitrox.
- Though, you can’t dive deeper with Nitrox! Even if many people may think so. Nitrox is actually inappropriate for deep dives! When breathing oxygen at high pressure it can become toxic. So the higher the oxygen percentage the shallower the dive should be. You shouldn’t underestimate the risk of oxygen toxicity while diving with Enriched Air Nitrox. Still, most of the times diving up to 30 meters down is perfectly fine. You just shouldn’t hit the 40 meters mark!
- Diving with Nitrox requires that you do the PADI specialty course first. In this course you are learning all about the theory of diving with Nitrox. For example: how to manage oxygen exposure, dive limits on Nitrox and what specific diving equipment you should consider. You can do this course only for theory, the dives are not mandatory so you can be done within a few hours! That’s because when you go diving with Nitrox you don’t actually feel a difference while breathing. You just need to know the ins and outs.
So, Enriched Air Nitrox has both – its advantages but also its disadvantages. It totally depends what kind of diving you are planning. We at Blue Season Bali think that it is good specialty to do. If you’ve completed the course you always have the opportunity to decide if it would be better to use Nitrox or normal air.
Have you already dived with Nitrox? What are your experiences? Let us know all about it in the comments!