Using nitrox in your cylinder presents both advantages and risks.
- Here are some of the advantages.
- When used and applied correctly, it will reduce the nitrogen gas accumulation in your body.
- It can increase actual bottom time by increasing the no-decompression time limits.
- It may also reduce fatigue after a dive and may shorten your surface interval time between dives.
- Divers should also be aware of drawbacks to using/breathing nitrox.
- The main risk is descending below the safe depth limit of a nitrox gas, and the reason for this is because oxygen is toxic at certain depths. Therefore, you will hear people asking “What is your maximum depth?” They are referring to the depth the gas (nitrox mix) can safely be breathed/used without greatly increasing the risk of oxygen toxicity.
- Other drawbacks with nitrox are addressed in the nitrox specialty training courses. For example the course will go over how to manage oxygen toxicity, how to calculate the correct depth limits for different nitrox gases, how to use an oxygen analyzer, and how to label your cylinder before you take it into the water.
- For this dive, your instructor will analyze your breathing gas in your cylinder to confirm what gas it is and then calculate your maximum allowable depth (MOD), the planned depth or the target depth (TOD), and the allowable NDL or dive time. Although your standard scuba regulator can be used, only a nitrox PDC or adjusted air diving tables can be used to work out your allowable dive time. Do not be surprised if the allowable dive times are a lot longer than diving and breathing normal air.
Note: You can earn your Nitrox Specialty by successfully completing the online academics for Nitrox Specialty in conjunction with the Open Water 20 course and this optional nitrox dive. Candidates for the Nitrox Specialty must be a minimum of 15 years old. Let your dive center and instructor know you would like to include this as part of your underwater adventure. Nitrox has real benefits, and it is a useful tool for divers to use on every dive.