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Enriched Air Diver: Is It Worth It?

The Enriched Air Diver course is one of the most popular diving specialties. Doing it, the scuba diver learns to dive with Nitrox, also known as enriched air (EANx).

Unlock a new realm of diving possibilities by becoming an Enriched Air Diver. This article will take you on a journey through the world of enriched air diving, covering everything from its benefits and certification process to course details.

1. What Is Enriched Air Diving?

2. Why Do Divers Use Enriched Air?

3. The Advantages of Being an Enriched Air Diver

4. How To Get the Enriched Air Diver Course

  • 4.1. Enriched Air Diver Certification

5. Enriched Air Diver FAQS

  • 5.1. What Are the Disadvantages of Enriched Air Diving?
  • 5.2. How Deep Can You Dive with Enriched Air?
  • 5.3. Can You Go Deeper with Enriched Air?
  • 5.4. How Can I Avoid Oxygen Toxicity While Diving with Enriched Air?
PADI Enriched Air Diver - 2

1. What is Enriched Air Diving?

Why is enriched air such a game-changer?  Being an enricher air diver means enjoying longer dives and safer profiles. With the right blend of gases, you can extend your bottom time and reduce decompression illness.

All right, let’s dive right into it (pun totally intended). An enriched air diver doesn’t use the ordinary blend of gases that we find in our regular air tanks.

The air we usually breathe is about 21% oxygen and 79% nitrogen. Well, in these enriched air cylinders, the oxygen percentage increases.

Things are about to get a bit technical but totally worth it. Drumroll, please!

The show’s star is EANx, aka Enriched Air Nitrox, and it comes in different mixes. The top three are:

  1. EAN32 or Nitrox I:

It is about 32% oxygen and 68% nitrogen. Suitable for recreational enriched air diving and permissible for submersion at any depth within the recommended limits for recreational diving. Enriches air divers can experience this mix at some Dressel Divers centers without spending an extra dime.

  1. EAN36 or Nitrox II:

To extend dives at intermediate depths this mix that contains 36% oxygen and 64% nitrogen.

  1. EAN40:

This one’s a bit daring. With 40% oxygen and 60% nitrogen. This mixture is not used in recreational diving; technical divers use it.

When choosing an appropriate air mixture for enriched air diving, we need to take into account the depth and duration of our planned underwater stay. Consequently, rather than pondering the best or worst mixture, it is essential to concentrate on selecting the suitable one for that particular dive.

PADI Enriched Air Diver - dressel

2. Why Do Divers Use Enriched Air?

As we’re aware, the nitrogen we breathe from diving tanks is subjected to varying partial pressures depending on the depth. The greater the partial pressure, the more nitrogen our bodies absorb. This phenomenon becomes more pronounced as dive durations extend.

In the realm of recreational scuba diving, adhering to ascent limits that avoid decompression becomes paramount, even when engaging in enriched air diving with Nitrox. The additional nitrogen our bodies assimilate is efficiently purged as we ascend, obviating the need for extended stops.

The differentiating factor between Nitrox-assisted diving and conventional methods lies in the permissible duration spent beneath the water’s surface without encroaching upon decompression limits. By opting for Nitrox-enriched air, which contains a reduced nitrogen content, our bodies uptake less of this element. Consequently, we gain the ability to prolong our time underwater during relatively shallow dives.

For instance, an enriched air diver employing Nitrox32 while at a depth of 18 meters / 59 feet can extend the underwater time to 95 minutes, all without necessitating a decompression halt. In contrast, using standard compressed air would restrict the dive to a maximum of 56 minutes.


3. The Advantages of Being an Enriched Air Diver

Building on the information we’ve just discussed, let’s explore the primary advantages of enriched air diving, also known as nitrox diving:

Reduced Exposure to Nitrogen: One of the key benefits stems from the lower nitrogen content in enriched air mixtures compared to regular air. As a result, when diving with enriched air, our bodies absorb fewer nitrogen molecules. This advantage leads to specific benefits such as:

Extended Dive Times: Enriched air allows for longer dives as we can prolong the dive until reaching recreational diving limits and before we need a safety stop.

Enhanced Safety: The reduced nitrogen absorption contributes to safer dives. By reducing the risk of narcosis and decompression sickness, enriched air divers can focus on enjoying their dive

Increased Dive Frequency: Being an enriched air diver also facilitates shorter surface intervals. This is because they have less nitrogen to off-gas from their body after a dive. This can be helpful if you want to do multiple dives daily.

In addition to these advantages, there’s another noteworthy perk: Dressel Divers centers offer nitrox certified divers the opportunity to experience nitrox diving at no extra cost in most of its dive centers.

Of course, to partake in nitrox advantages, you’ll need to complete a specialized training course to become a certified Enriched Air Diver.

Most diving agencies provide this type of training. We’ll delve into the specifics next.

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4. How To Get the Enriched Air Diver Course

In the “Enriched Air Diver” course, you’ll gain comprehensive knowledge essential for planning dives using this specialized gas blend. This course covers various aspects including oxygen exposure, diverse mixture types, their identification through labeling, safety protocols, equipment usage, and utilization of the air analyzer.

Furthermore, you’ll become proficient in utilizing both dive tables and diving computers while adhering to enriched air-specific conditions. Upon completing the course, you’ll be adept at calculating partial oxygen pressures at different depths, tailored to the specific mixture you’ve chosen, thereby ensuring mitigation of oxygen toxicity risks.

4.1. Enriched Air Diver Certification

Exploring enriched air diving, commonly referred to as Nitrox diving, presents a range of benefits and potential drawbacks. To effectively minimize the latter, it’s recommended to acquire the SDI Computer Nitrox or PADI Enriched Air Diver Certification through Dressel Divers or an equivalent course (SSI, ACUC, CMAS).

To do this, you must:

Be certified as an Open Water Diver, Junior Open Water Diver, or equivalent.

Be 18 years old or 10 years old with parental consent

Enriched air Diver (3)

5. Enriched Air Diver FAQS

  • What Are The Disadvantages Of Enriched Air Diving?

Diving with enriched air in certain scenarios also has some potential disadvantages:

  • Oxygen Toxicity: As the concentration of oxygen in the mixture increases, the risk of oxygen toxicity also increases. Therefore, it is essential to follow recommended depth and time guidelines for enriched air diving.
  • Limited Depth: The use of enriched air is generally limited to shallower depths due to the risk of oxygen toxicity. As you descend to greater depths, the oxygen levels in the mixture must be reduced to avoid toxicity issues.
  • Additional Cost: The preparation of nitrox blends requires proper analysis and mixing of oxygen and nitrogen, which can result in additional costs for divers. However, this doesn’t happen in most Dressel Divers dive centers where it is available for free.
  • Requires Additional Training: Divers must receive specialized training in handling nitrox to safely dive with enriched air. This involves learning about the effects of oxygen and nitrogen on the body, as well as specific safety considerations for nitrox use.


  • How Deep Can You Dive with Enriched Air?

With 32% Nitrox, you have the potential to dive to depths of approximately 112 feet (34 meters), while utilizing 36% Nitrox allows for dives of around 95 feet (29 meters). Specific tables are available for enriched air divers to determine the maximum depth limits based on the oxygen percentage in the mixture.

  • Can You Go Deeper Diving with Enriched Air?

Many people say that, but it is false. You cannot go deeper diving with enriched air than with a common mixture

  • How Can I Avoid Oxygen Toxicity While Diving with Enriched Air?

To prevent oxygen toxicity while diving with enriched air (nitrox), it’s important to follow safety guidelines and specific recommendations for using this mixture.

Know your limits: Make sure to be aware of the recommended depth and time limits for the enriched air mixture you’re using. These limits are designed to maintain safe oxygen levels in your system.

Use specialized dive tables and computers: Utilize dive tables or dive computers specifically designed for nitrox diving. These tools will provide you with accurate information on depth and dive time limits based on the oxygen concentration in the mixture.

Choose appropriate enriched air blends for the depth you plan to dive. As depth increases, you may need to use blends with lower oxygen concentrations to avoid toxicity.

Monitor your dive depths and times: Use a dive watch or computer that records your dive times and depths to ensure you stay within safe limits.

Receive proper training: Take an enriched air (nitrox) diving course with a certified instructor. Learn about the effects of oxygen on the body and how to plan and conduct safe nitrox dives

In summary, when you are an Enriched Air Diver, you can lengthen the duration of your dives, reduce the nitrogen saturation of your body, shorten the surface intervals, and make more dives in a single day. How much longer are you going to miss out on all these advantages? Come on, contact us!