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Nitrox diver: the bright side of diving

Nowadays, more and more divers use Nitrox instead of normal air for scuba diving. It can also be a requirement on liveaboard and destinations where you do a lot of dives to reduce the risk of decompression sickness.

Let’s see what is so appealing about nitrox diving.

What is nitrox?

Nitrox, also known as Enriched Air Nitrox (EANx), is a breathing gas mixture used in scuba diving. The mix contains a higher concentration of oxygen than regular air (which is 20.9% oxygen). Nitrox gas is anything between 21% and 40%, but typically contains between 32% and 40% oxygen. The higher concentration of oxygen in nitrox allows divers to stay underwater for longer periods of time in the non-decompression limits compared to regular air diving, as it reduces the amount of nitrogen that the body absorbs. This results in a reduced risk of decompression sickness, which occurs when nitrogen bubbles form in the body after ascending too quickly from a dive. Nitrox diving requires specialized training and equipment, and divers must adhere to safe diving practices to prevent oxygen toxicity, a potential risk when diving with nitrox. Nitrox diving is popular among recreational and technical divers due to its benefits, including longer dive times and increased safety.

How does nitrox EanX work?

When a diver inhales Nitrox, the body absorbs the gases in the same way as regular air. However, because Nitrox has a higher concentration of oxygen, the body absorbs less nitrogen, which reduces the amount of nitrogen that dissolves in the body’s tissues during the dive. This means that divers can stay at depth for a longer period before reaching decompression limits.

Reducing the amount of nitrogen absorbed by the body also reduces the risk of decompression sickness, which occurs when nitrogen bubbles form in the body after ascending too quickly from a dive. By reducing the amount of nitrogen in the gas mixture, Nitrox can help to prevent these bubbles from forming.

However, diving with Nitrox requires careful planning and management, as the increased oxygen concentration can also pose a risk of oxygen toxicity if the concentration becomes too high. Therefore, Nitrox divers must be properly trained and follow safe diving practices to prevent oxygen toxicity and ensure a safe and enjoyable dive.

The PADI Nitrox  Eanx course in Komodo

The classroom sessions cover topics such as the benefits and risks of diving with Nitrox, gas mixing and analyzing procedures, oxygen exposure limits, and dive planning. Divers will learn how to calculate the maximum operating depth (MOD) and the equivalent air depth (EAD) for various Nitrox blends, which will help them to plan their dives safely and avoid decompression sickness.

The practical sessions involve analyzing and labeling Nitrox tanks, calculating MOD and EAD for different Nitrox blends, and practicing dive planning and gas management techniques. Divers will also learn how to use specialized equipment, such as Nitrox-compatible dive computers and regulators, and how to handle emergencies when diving with Nitrox.

Blends with more than 40% oxygen can also be taken as breathing gas underwater, it is called advanced nitrox.

Advanced Nitrox is a scuba diving certification course that builds on the knowledge and skills acquired in basic Nitrox certification. The course teaches divers how to use Nitrox blends with oxygen concentrations between 41% and 100%, beyond the range of recreational Nitrox blends. Advanced Nitrox certification is typically a prerequisite for other technical diving courses, such as decompression diving.

nitrox dive in komodo

Benefits of diving with nitrox

There are several benefits of using Nitrox (Enriched Air Nitrox or EANx) for scuba diving:

  1. Longer bottom times: Nitrox has a higher concentration of oxygen than regular air, which means that the body absorbs less nitrogen during a dive. This reduces the risk of decompression sickness and allows divers to stay underwater for longer periods of time compared to regular air diving. This means more time to explore and enjoy the underwater environment.
  2. Reduced fatigue: Because Nitrox reduces the amount of nitrogen absorbed by the body, it can also reduce the amount of post-dive fatigue and tiredness that divers may experience. This can be especially beneficial for those who participate in multiple dives in a day or over several days.
  3. Safer diving: Nitrox diving reduces the risk of decompression sickness, which is a potentially life-threatening condition. By reducing the amount of nitrogen in the gas mixture, Nitrox can help to prevent these bubbles from forming.
  4. Suitable for shallow dives: Nitrox is especially beneficial for dives that are shallower than 100 feet (30 meters), as the higher oxygen concentration allows for longer bottom times than regular air diving.
  5. Shorter surface intervals: Nitrox can be especially beneficial for divers who want to reduce their surface intervals between dives. Surface intervals are the periods of time that a diver spends on the surface of the water between dives. During this time, the body eliminates excess nitrogen that has been absorbed during the previous dive. Shorter surface intervals can allow for more time spent underwater and can be particularly advantageous for divers who want to explore multiple dive sites in a single day or over several days.

Let’s compare the difference between several mixes.

All the limits have been calculated with a gradient of 40/85

DepthAir No Deco LimitEANx32 No Deco LimitEANx40 No Deco Limit
18m43min76min141min
24m23min38min60min

As you can see, the is a big difference between the limits of each mix. This will allow you to enjoy your dives even more.

If you are at least 12 years old and are Open Water Diver certified, you are qualified to sign up for the nitrox course.

So, are you ready to go to Nitrox and spend more time underwater? Get certified today in Komodo with Manta Dive Komodo! 

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