5 Benefits of Diving with Enriched Air (NITROX)

Robert Arak in Scubatude Blog
on Jul 05, 2019 |

The air we breathe on the surface, and the air we compress into our scuba tanks contains about 21% oxygen, and about 79% nitrogen. Enriched air is a breathing gas that has a higher percentage of oxygen than 21%. In scuba diving this is commonly referred to as Nitrox. Nitrox is often offered at diving destinations, resorts and liveaboards worldwide. If you haven’t become certified as a Nitrox diver yet, here is why you should:

  • Increased No Decompression Limits
    More time underwater! Since Nitrox is air enriched with more oxygen, that means means less nitrogen. Our body’s nitrogen loading is what limits our time underwater. Nitrox does not allow you to go deeper, in fact, is has depth limits, but in the 60-100 foot depth range, you can significantly increase your bottom time on both single and repetitive dives.
  • Safer
    Kind of. It’s not safer than air comparatively but as diving with Nitrox gives you greater no decompression limits, it does mean you are far less likely to push your limits. Consider that your air limit at 80 feet would be 30 minutes whereas with a Nitrox mix containing 36% oxygen your limit would be 55 minutes. In this case, you can see that you would be more likely to have to end the dive due to low remaining gas pressure than you would your no decompression limit. Using Nitrox is safer because it makes it harder to push the limits inadvertently, and usually means more conservative dive profiles.
  • Less Tired
    While this reason is purely anecdotal, many divers report less fatigue with Nitrox versus air. If you think about it, your body is doing less work loading and unloading nitrogen, so it certainly makes sense. My personal experience, as well as most all of the divers I know, agree that we are far less tired after diving with Nitrox than diving with air.
  • Multiple Day Repetitive Dive Vacations
    There’s a reason why many liveaboard operators and dive resorts offer Nitrox for free for those certified to use it. Over multiple days repetitive diving it makes sense to reduce the nitrogen load in your divers; after all happy, refreshed and safe divers are good for business. If you want to enjoy a little night life after diving, Nitrox is almost a requirement.
  • Pay Back
    The certification course for Nitrox is relatively inexpensive. You can do your course in very little time and most of it can be done online. If you dive often or take dive vacations, you will find it will pay for itself very quickly in increased dive time, safer dives, and more awake time to enjoy your friends, family and vacation time.