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Letdown of Nitrox
geobrad7 - 8/15/2009 1:47 PM
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Category: Personal
Comments: 2
Since long before I even got certified (doing Discover), I have heard all these amazing things about Nitrox. It’s the most popular PADI specialty. It seems like everyone uses it. I finally signed up for the class and doing my preparation and knowledge reviews, I realized that Nitrox has a major problem similar to air - too much oxygen causes problems, just as too much nitrogen does. So staying deep for a long time makes it likely that you’ll push your nitrogen limits, but going to a certain depth with a higher amount of oxygen means you have to worry about oxygen toxicity now. So suddenly Nitrox isn’t useful for deep dives, when I thought that was the entire purpose of it!


geobrad7 - 8/17/2009 5:44 PM

Yeah, I hear ya there. Nitrox surely has it’s advantages, but it is not always appropriate. During the training, my instructor told me that newly certified Nitrox divers will often overuse Nitrox, using it when air would be much more appropriate. I suppose other situations (like yours with everyone else using air) are more situations where it should only be used at discretion. But in a lot of cases, Nitrox can be much better.

chadpuckett - 8/17/2009 10:30 AM

Hey Bradley,

When I first started diving I had the same idea as you. Get Nitrox so I could dive deeper longer. And like you, I learned that was not the case.
But I am glad I went ahead with Nitrox and can understand why it is the most popular speciality. Although it won’t help any with depth, it will increase overall bottom time by reducing the amount of Nitrogen buildup and lowering the required service interval before getting back in the water. In some cases, this can be the difference between getting in one or two additional dives in a day. And after all, we all are trying to spend more time underwater.
Another consideration of nitrox is with whom you will be diving. When I first got my Nitrox, everyone I dove with at that time used air. So on our trips, using Nitrox was a waste cause I would be through with my service interval but still needed to wait on everyone else. Other option would be solo, but that defeats purpose of group. Dive safe.