Many recreational divers know of enriched air (nitrox), but aren’t familiar with it enough to know if they could benefit from diving nitrox.
The benefit of diving nitrox is that you absorb less nitrogen. So it’s safe to say that you should dive enriched air whenever you can. Why? Because with less nitrogen absorption you can enjoy a longer allowable bottom time and also improve your safety margin as it relates to decompression sickness (DCS), when diving on an air profile.
But there are certain types of divers who benefit more significantly from diving nitrox. We’ve identified the 5 Types of Divers who should dive enriched air. Read on to see if you’re one of them!
But first: Are you nitrox curious, but feel like you need a primer on what nitrox is before determining if you should be diving with enriched air? Check out details on nitrox and the PADI Enriched Air Diver course here.
4 Type of Divers Who Should Be Diving Nitrox
1. The ‘Dive All Day, Every Day Diver’
If your primary purpose for vacationing is diving, and your name is on every daily dive possible, then you might consider diving with enriched air – even if your group is following an air profile. Many divers who use it daily for typical-duration dives swear that they have more energy than if they were diving on air. While nitrox has not been proven to reduce fatigue, logically it makes sense since your body is absorbing less nitrogen and not having to off-gas as much.
2. The Liveaboard Junkie
Similarly, if you’re someone who loves liveaboards or is considering one – you definitely want your nitrox certification. Most liveaboards will offer nitrox for free or deeply discount. And that’s smart, because unlike dive centers who typically offer 3-4 dives a day, liveaboards can offer up to 5 dives per day – that’s a lot of residual nitrogen that can build up from dive to dive. A smart way to manage your safety margin on a liveaboard is to dive nitrox on the nitrox profile for the first 3 dives, and then dive nitrox on an air profile for the remaining 2 dives of the day.
3. The ‘Go Deep or Go Home’ Diver
If you get a thrill from deeper depths then nitrox will keep you from pushing your limits (no deco limits that is!). While you can’t necessarily dive deeper on nitrox. This means that you have more time to stay at those depths, assuming you have enough gas, and you’re less likely to “bump up” to your no deco limits when diving at a deeper range. Of course, you still have to be mindful of your the maximum operating depth on nitrox, as it will be shallower than the recreational depth limit we have when using air (40meters / 130 feet.)
4. The Super Safe Diver
If you’re the type of diver who never forgets a buddy check and gets peace of mind from conservative dive profiles, we applaud you and also recommend that you dive with enriched air. Diving nitrox can give you additional peace of mind on your dive, because it’s less likely for you to “push” your no deco limits. And when diving nitrox on an air profile, you can reduce your risk of DCS.
Age, Weight and Nitrox
Two other important factors to consider when choosing whether or not to dive nitrox are age and weight. While no one wants to admit they’re getting older or that they’ve put on a few extra pounds, neither of those factors have to stop you from diving. But the reality is that they can increase your risk of decompression sickness. Nitrogen is more easily absorbed in our fat tissues. And as we age our circulatory systems slow which also slows down the process of off-gassing nitrogen. So if these are factors for you, diving nitrox is a smart decision.
Know that we’ve shared the 4 types of divers we believe should be diving nitrox, and additional health factors that make it a good move, it’s your turn to decide if nitrox is right for you. Not certified to dive with enriched air? It’s a relatively quick and easy course, that is also very cost effective to do while diving in Roatan. Learn more about the PADI Enriched Air (Nitrox) Diver course at Sun Divers!