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Nitrox Diving – the basics

Diving with Nitrox (nitrogen & oxygen mixes)

PADI Nitrox Enriched Air Divers Course Pattaya ThailandMermaids Dive Center Pattaya Thailand Enriched Air CourseNitrox regulators for mixed air and nitrogen blends.PADI Enriched Air Divers Course”What is Nitrox diving exactly?” is a question that I pose to a few people. Generally divers say, – “it’s what you use if you want to dive deep”. Wrong! Sorry but that’s not what Nitrox scuba diving is all about.

Nitrox (Nitrogen – Oxygen mix) is about diving for a longer time (bottom time) not deeper diving. Let me give you an example.

The air that you and I are breathing now (as long as you are not reading this underwater!) is a basic mixture of 21% Oxygen and 79% Nitrogen. Nitrox is a mix of oxygen and Nitrogen that is not the usual air content. If you are to breathe normal air (with 79% Nitrogen) at a depth of 10 meters now you are breathing the equivalent of 158% Nitrogen (because now you are under 2 atmospheres of pressure, 1 from the surface and 1 atmosphere from the 10 meters of water pressure, hence twice the amount). You can see now easily how the Nitrogen content builds up in our systems very quickly. Nitrox usually is a blend of gas where LESS Nitrogen is used and MORE Oxygen is used.

As you know Nitrogen absorption is the main contributing factor of ‘decompression sickness’ or ‘the bends’, this is why we can only stay down for a limited period of time (No Decompression Limit (NDL)) like you learned in your ‘Open Water Course’.

Simply by reducing the amount of Nitrogen and increasing the amount of Oxygen in a blend allows you to stay down longer as you are absorbing less Nitrogen during the dive.

It is for longer diving (a longer NDL) not for deeper diving!

The Nitrox course is informative and fun. How many times have you done a dive to 25-30 meters, really enjoyed it but had to come up due to running out of ‘safe’ bottom time? Using a specific blend (Nitrox) of air will allow you to enjoy ‘THAT DIVE’ for a longer period safely.

The Hardeep shipwreck locally Pattaya (Samesan), Thailand, is a great example of this. The ship wreck lies in 26 meters of water. Check this out for a great example of how Nitrox can seriously improve your bottom time.

Normal air (21% Oxy & 79% Nitrogen) 20 minutes NDL (i.e. before you start ascent)
Nitrox mix (36% Oxy & 64% Nitrogen) 50 minutes NDL (i.e. before you start ascent)

As you can see by the basic example you double (and some) your ‘No Decompression Limit’ and can enjoy that dive for longer. Hence why the Hardeep wreck is such a perfect training ground for this. You can even take your Wrecks diving specialty using Nitrox.

The academics for the Nitrox course are more involved than this simple explanation but at least now you understand why divers might like to ‘mix blends’.

Please UNDERSTAND that as you remove one danger (Nitrogen) you add another (excess Oxygen) which is why this course should be learned correctly. This is a great fun course (as you get nice long dives) but the academic content is very serious! You are now entering the realm of technical diving.

The PADI Enriched Air Diver Specialty Course

Prerequisite Certification: PADI Open Water Diver* or qualifying certification
Minimum Age: 15
Recommended Course Hours: 12, plus two open water dives
Minimum Open Water Training: none (2 dives optional)
Student to Instructor Ratio: 8:1
Minimum Instructor Rating: PADI Enriched Air Instructor
* Open Water Diver course students who have completed Open Water Dives 1, 2 and 3 may complete Enriched Air Training Dive 1 combined with Open Water Dive 4. Students completing this option must
be certified as PADI Open Water Divers prior to Enriched Air Training Dive 2.

Where can I go from here?

You can apply this Specialty course towards your Master Scuba Diver certification. You also need the PADI Enriched Diver certification if you intend to move into technical diving.

Technical Internships with basic and advanced Nitrox courses (Chose between 2 tech courses)

padi enriched air divers course – ideal if you wish for a friend to get open water certified and you wish to take the Nitrox course – learn together.

Mermaids offer a whole range of PADI Specialties:

Night Diver, Drift Diver, Search & Recovery, Advanced Search & Recovery, DPV (Diver Propulsion Vehicle – great fun), Underwater Naturalist Diver, Shipwreck Diver, Deep Diver, Navigation Diver, Photography Diver, Videography Diver, Multi-level Diver, Cave diving, Equipment Specialist, Underwater Digital Photography Divers Course, Peak Performance Buoyancy Diver, NITROX Diver, Twin tank / PADI Side Mount Course – Mermaids Dive Pattaya Thailand now have over 20 PADI specialty courses to offer.

Mermaids Pattaya, Thailand offer a full range of PADI Specialty courses on your schedule – allow Mermaids 1-2 days and we can operate any PADI Specialties that you require.



Testimonials

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Several instructors I have worked with since have completed what is billed as "zero to hero" internships yet none of them have come out of their program with the kind of hands on experience and skills that I gained working under the likes of Russell, Desi, Ian B and Slinky and the awesome support staff at Mermaids.


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