Complete Beginner’s Guide to Nitrox Diving (Enriched Air Diving)

Beginner's Guide to Nitrox Diving
6 Aug 2019

Complete Beginner’s Guide to Nitrox Diving (Enriched Air Diving)

Even if you are brand new to scuba diving, you have seen the tell-tale yellow and green tanks used in nitrox diving. Nitrox diving has been around for decades. As this diving option increases in popularity, you’re going to see more of these tanks around. You may even want to try it yourself. Before you sign up for your nitrox diving course, check out this quick guide to nitrox diving for beginners to answer your nitrox diving questions!

What is Nitrox?

Nitrox is also referred to as Hyperoxic Nitrox, SafeAir, Enriched Air Nitrox, EAN, EANX or Enriched Air cylinder, depending on where you’re diving. A nitrox cylinder contains a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen (the two main components of breathing air) that contains more than 21% percent oxygen.

Although nitrox tanks can come in a variety of mixtures, the two most common tanks for nitrox divings are:

  • Nitrox I: This is also called Nitrox 32 or Nitrogen 62/32. It contains 32% oxygen and 68% oxygen. This is the most common type of nitrox tank.
  • Nitrox II: This is also known as Nitrox 36 or Nitrogen 64/36. It contains 36% oxygen and 64% nitrogen.

Nitrox tanks are typically branded in yellow and green to differentiate them from other mixtures of gas. But this is not always the case, so double-check gas concentrations before picking a tank.

What are the Benefits of Nitrox?

Like any other tool for scuba diving, nitrox can be beneficial when used properly. Because it has a higher concentration of oxygen than normal breathing air, divers can shorten their surface interval (reduce the amount of time spent at the surface between dives), lengthen no-decompression limits (increase the amount of time spent at deeper depths), and reduce exhaustion. In certain situations, nitrox diving may be safer than standard diving because it increases your buffer for decompression sickness or the bends.

What are the Dangers of Nitrox?

When used improperly, nitrox can be dangerous. Increasing the concentration of oxygen you’re breathing can lead to some complications. Oxygen toxicity, caused by high concentrations of oxygen can cause seizures, difficulty breathing, damage to sight, lung damage, unconsciousness, and even death. There is little warning before the effects of oxygen toxicity set in. The quick onset of oxygen toxicity may lead to complications while diving and accidental drowning. Nitrox tanks contain higher concentrations of oxygen, which is a flammable gas. You should always properly store and handle the tanks, valves, and other nitrox equipment to avoid accidents that could result in an explosion.

Is Nitrox Diving Right for You?

Nitrox diving, like any advanced form of scuba diving, comes with risks and gains.When deciding if nitrox is the right air mixture for you, remember that it’s likely unnecessary for short or shallow dives. The best time to choose nitrox is in the 50- to 100-foot range. Otherwise, it’s a personal preference!

When in doubt, check with a professional or certified Master Diver, or contact us today with any of your nitrox diving questions! We are constantly are putting together scuba diving classes in NJ. We offer many selections and ways to learn scuba diving in NJ. Our learning atmosphere is convenient and informative. We will even show you how to correctly dive in this area.