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.