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 risking oxygen toxicity.
- Other drawbacks with nitrox are addressed in the in additional specialty training courses. For example:
- You will learn about oxygen toxicity and how to work out the depths for different gases.
- 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 dive computer 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!