Differences between Air and Enriched Air
Enriched Air or Nitrox refers to any gas mix composed of nitrogen and oxygen. Normal air have around 21% of oxygen. With Enriched Air, content of oxygen is above 21%. For recreational diving, scuba tanks are filled with a content of oxygen between 32 to 40%. For technical diving, the content of oxygen is above 50%, and pure oxygen can be used for the last decompression stops.
Benefits of Enriched Air
With depth, the partial pressure of Nitrogen will increase. With a high PpN2, inert gas are dissolved in your body tissues until saturation, increasing also the risks of decompression sickness. Using normal air will limit your bottom time because you want to avoid body tissues saturation. With Enriched Air, less inert gas will be dissolved in the tissues. You will extend your no-decompressopn limits and reduce the risks of decompression sickness. As you absorb less nitrogen, you need less wash out time at the surface, and so spend more time underwater.
Risks using Enriched Air
With depth, the partial pressure of oxygen will increase. A high PpO2 is toxic for your body. The oxygen toxicity is dangerous and the effects may vary from visual distortion to convulsions that can lead to drowning. During your PADI Enriched Air speciality course, your instructor will teach you how to analyze your gas mix inside your tank, and deduce your Maximum Operating Depth then plan your dive.
Quick and easy to prevent
The course consists of independent academic study, video presentation, an exam and practical application session plus 2 optional open water dives. The course normally runs over 1 day. During the practical application session students will cover verification procedures, use of oxygen analyzer for Enriched Air tanks and administrative record keeping. These sessions are followed by 2 dives for which students will be required to demonstrate practical application of all aspects of the knowledge and skills covered in the theory part.
Combine your certification with other PADI courses
The extended no-decompression limits of Enriched Air is also excellent for many of the PADI Specialty courses, especially Deep Diver and Wreck Diver specialities. If you are thinking about Tec Diving, experience with Enriched Air is a prerequisites to get started with DSAT TecRec Tec 40.