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Pros and cons of Nitrox

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by Robertobowhunter, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. Robertobowhunter

    Robertobowhunter Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Quito-Ecuador

    I´m a total newbie (just had our 12th inmersion with my wife) and I´ve seen lots of divers with Nitrox, all of them says "yeah man you should go nitrox, you´ll have more fun".

    They all says that by going nitrox I´ll be able to do more tanks in one day (depending on how deep and the BT) and will feel less tired at the end of the day.

    The Nitrox sounds good to me since we are going to the Galapagos in 3 weeks and Bonaire in July.

    Would you please give me any word of advice on Nitrox?

    Thanks and regards
    Robert J
  2. LiveBait

    LiveBait Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Houston
    In my opinion it really is a no brainer cert. You could even do it online. I chose to take mine with my AOW. There are lots of pros. to having it and, I have only one con. That is that I can get practically free air fills at 5$ but, to get a nitox fill its 15! So I generally use air when I dive in the local shallow quarry (35'). Even if that is the case in your area I would still get it.

    Also if you plan to get lots of other training...it is a good get to know you course, to see if you like that instructor and how they teach.
    k ellis and KWS like this.
  3. jar546

    jar546 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: South Florida
    More bottom time, less surface interval = more diving

    Just watch your MOD which should be preplanned anyway.

    Yes, I agree, a no-brainer cert
  4. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Murphy Cove, NS ,CANADA (Eastern Shore-Atlantic)
    I use it sparingly. As pointed out, depth and number of repetitive dives plays a big part. Yes, it can be much more expensive than air. Again, depends--If you're already spending a fortune on a charter trip the extra bottom time is most likely worth it. It is convenient to dive nitrox if your buddy or everyone is, or air if the others are--so same bottom times. Consider however your standard US 2 tank charter with a good surface interval and a crew on a schedule -- requiring time limits on the dives--may or may not be worth double or tripple the cost of air. "Feeling better"? I never noticed a thing.
  5. RTee

    RTee Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Ottawa, ON
  6. rhwestfall

    rhwestfall Orca

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: "La Grande Ile"
    Is your current diving limited by air in your tank, or your NDL? If the latter, it will be a benefit. If not, until that happens, there is little benefit. If you are NDL limited, it will be a great advantage on multiple dive days (like three or more). Bottom time and SI's can be significantly altered.
    k ellis likes this.
  7. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor Staff Member

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    When I went to the Galapagos, we had the option of both nitrox and larger tanks to get more bottom time. Everyone on the boat opted for both except for one couple. I could not understand it. They had to surface well before everyone else on every dive. They saved a couple hundred dollars all told, but if you are spending thousands of dollars for the trip, that was a relative pittance. If you are going to do such a trip at such an expense, spend a few more bucks and get the most out of it.

    On the other hand...

    You should be aware as a new diver that the Galapagos is not easy diving. You may find your skills quite challenged there.
    Crush likes this.
  8. t-mac

    t-mac BKK Divers

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: VA, USA
    Agree it's a no-brainer. You WILL want it eventually and I predict you will want it in the Galapagos. Don't wait to get there to discover this. I don't know what you are paying for your trip, but the cost of the course and the extra couple of bucks per tank (assuming they charge for it), are likely to be inconsequential. And I assume this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip; it would really suck not to see that school of hammerheads because you had to sit out that dive. The only real downside is you have to watch your depth, but you can adjust your nitrox blend to the expected depth of your dive. Worst case is if your NDLs are not pushed by air and you don't "need" the nitrox, you have added a safety margin -- less nitrogen loading, less DCS risk. No brainer for sure!
  9. Dive Bug Bit Me

    Dive Bug Bit Me Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cape Town
    Hi Robert, and welcome to the world of scuba.

    I firmly believe that nitrox is the one speciality that is beneficial for every diver. My wife completed Nitrox (Enriched Air Speciality) when she had 12 dives, so you don't need to wait for more experience. . . just do it.

    Nitrox is just a term used to describe a breathing mix with Nitrogen and Oxygen. Technically air is Nitrox with 21% oxygen. Usually recreational nitrox refers to breathing gasses with more than 21% oxygen and less than 40% oxygen. Practically 32% seems to have become common and is often offered in places like Bonaire.

    In terms of the benefits;
    1. You will find that the no deco limits are extended. This allows for more bottom time, either as a single long dive, or spread over a number of dives over a day or week. This is the primary benefit that divers would think about - more diving.
    2. Some claim that they feel more invigorated after diving on nitrox. There is a mixed view on this and there is no scientific support that I am aware of. My personal point of view (based on me only) is that this probably does apply to newer divers that might not be diaphragm breathing and hence are taking shallower breaths.
    3. Some claim that diving Nitrox is safer. Again the view is mixed. If you dive Nitrox based on air tables then yes, there is an additional safety factor. This is however, quite small as the air tables themselves are already conservative. The debate is whether this marginal "safety benefit" is offset by the negatives that I set out below. Also, if you dive to the no deco limit of Nitrox, then there is no additional safety when compared to diving air to the no deco limit.

    So basically, only benefit number 1 is undisputed.

    In terms of drawbacks;
    1. You need to know what is in your tank. Therefore before each dive you spend about 20 seconds analyzing and marking the tank contents onto the tank.
    2. Nitrox (and air) have a maximum safe depth that they can be used at for recreational purposes. You need to make sure not to exceed your tank's maximum depth. This is the key risk as prolonged exposure to higher partial pressures of oxygen can cause Central Nervous System (CNS) toxicity and lead to underwater convulsions. There is, however, a lot of safety built into the Nitrox usage as you will learn it and therefore if you follow the rules, you will be fine.
    3. Prolonged exposure to higher concentrations of oxygen can cause your lungs to become rough. This will repair itself once you stop diving. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to do enough recreational dives to have a problem. I was diving 5 or 6 dives of 45 to 60 mins a day for a week in Bonaire and didn't come close to an issue.
    4. Nitrox fills can be more expensive.

    So as I said at the outset, to my mind the knowledge and ability to use Nitrox are worth the course.

    Galapagos in 3 weeks. . . cool. I have not been there myself, but have heard that the diving can be difficult with currents and surge. Be careful and try stick close to the guide.

    Bonaire . . . more cool. I have dived there and benefitted tremendously from being able to do 5 dives a day on Nitrox. Conditions were easy and well suited to a new diver. The shop I used gave a fee upgrade to Nitrox, so it was a no brainer.
  10. KWS

    KWS ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: SE TEXAS
    just do it , you wont regret it. everyone responds differently to it. i feel less tired and get more bottom time, orthers get no advantage. the theory of it will get you going for years of thought and gives you the background for a lot of the discussions of more advanced arenas of diving. you can do it online and for all practical in the big picture it is free training. if you dont like it , you dont have to use it. but if you do , it is great stuff. I will say for me that when on it i have to be carefull not to leave the others in the group beind when gong from pint a to b. i just dont feel fatigued. I am 60 for all prectical purposes. i dont have the physical capabilities of a 20-30. i can understand that jocks probably will see no endurance benifit. for me it is day and night. i get 20-30% more dive time. i think i breath probably 1 breath perminute slower when on it. perhaps its imagination, i dont know. but i am first in and last out of the water when on it. if you are going to do many dives a day you will feel much better at the end.

    Some draw backs. cost, using it with a non notrox buddy. having to figure fequivilant air depth( or jsut use the nitrox computer and forget it).

    If you are ever considering gong into "technical diving" then advanced nitrox will be a snap. Get a dive planner that will show you the compartments saturations and compare the air vs nitrox and you will see what the body is dealing with. a cheap one is on dive nav its called dive planner andn for 7 bucks you can incorporate nitrox and trimix to compare. you can play with docompression and watch the pregresive results. Using it is like smoking you think nothing about it but if you could simulate smoking and watch the body o2 levels and respiraton rates and heart rates you see things differently. would i use it to plan a dive, i dont know but its fun to play with after you read about such things as nitrox pros and cons and various deco stratagies and the like. test things out on your desk top. info is info...

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