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Enriched Air
Information and Price List

What is enriched air?

During the last ten years there has been significant emphasis placed on diving with gas mixtures other than air. As one read articles, papers and books one may begin to ask, "What’s wrong with diving on air?" Simply, air contains two major components, oxygen (21%) and nitrogen (79%).

The nitrogen in normal air limits your bottom time, or the number of dives that can be done in a day, or requires a longer surface interval between dives. Nitrogen is also the cause of decompression sickness.

Enter Enriched Air, also called Oxygen Enriched Air, or just Nitrox. Enriched Air is air that has more oxygen in it. Consequently it has less nitrogen. Since nitrogen is the controlling factor for decompression from no-stop diving, with less nitrogen in the breathing mixture the body will absorb less nitrogen and will have less of a decompression obligation.

The two most commonly used Nitrox mixtures are 32% and 36% oxygen.

So why would I want to use it?

Today’s diver is seeking more adventure and exploration, which almost always leads to the desire for more bottom time.  Many times the only way to get that longer bottom time is to plan dives that require lengthy and sometimes complicated decompression stops.  Using enriched air (nitrox) makes getting that longer bottom time not only easier by eliminating decompression stops required with air, but this also allows the diver to have shorter surface intervals while still maintaining a minimal level of risk.

By adding additional oxygen to the mixture the rate of nitrogen absorption into the body is reduced thus allowing you to extend your no decompression limits beyond those of normal air.  Enriched air replaces some of the nitrogen you would breathe underwater with oxygen, so you absorb less nitrogen than you would for the same dive breathing normal air.

Enriched air nitrox is of special value when making multi-day repetitive dives. Dive incident statistics show that almost 80 percent of all cases of decompression illness result from repetitive dives. If a diver were to dive the same profiles that he had done while using air using an enriched air mixture instead, not only would the decompression be significantly less but there would be an overall reduction of nitrogen in the body. As a result, many divers report that they are not as physically tired after a series of dives using nitrox as they have been in the past using air.

If you imagine a typical dive vacation where a diver may be diving two to three times a day for five or six days, it is easy to see that the benefits of using enriched air nitrox become quite significant for either extending bottom time or by reducing required decompression. That is the magic of oxygen enriched air diving.

I've heard some things about enriched air, are they true?

With all technology come facts and perceived facts. There are some myths that we need to dispel.

"Nitrox is for deep diving."
Actually enriched air nitrox has very stringent depth limits due to the higher concentration of oxygen in the mixture. The greatest advantages for no-stop diving are in the 50 to 130 fsw diving range. The two standard mixtures of EAN 32 and EAN 36 have maximum operational depths of 130 fsw and 110 fsw respectively. There are other applications for using enriched air nitrox to accelerate decompression from deep dives, but these are outside the scope of the primary enriched air training courses, but are covered in other courses.

"You can't get decompression sickness."
It almost seems obvious that using enriched air nitrox provides significant benefits of extending bottom times, but not obvious is its use as an effective tool to help prevent decompression illness. By using a gas with less nitrogen in it we can effectively lower the risk of decompression illness. This does not mean that a diver will never get decompression illness, just that with proper management the already small risk of DCI is even smaller when diving similar profiles using enriched air nitrox.

However no gas nor diving table can absolutely ensure that a diver will not get decompression illness. Using enriched air nitrox provides significant decompression advantages over air, which may help avoid decompression sickness, but with all diving there is a risk of decompression illness.

"Narcosis is eliminated."
It might seem logical that with reduced nitrogen in the breathing mix there would be reduced nitrogen narcosis at depth. The fact is, oxygen can also be a narcotic gas when under pressure. The result is that there is no significant change in narcosis when diving enriched air nitrox as compared to air.

Do I need to be trained to use enriched air?

Yes, you will need to complete a PADI Enriched Air course before you can either rent enriched air tanks or obtain enriched air fills. 

Click here for more information regarding the PADI Enriched Air specialty course.

Price List

Nitrox/Enriched Air SCUBA Cylinders
Enriched Air Fill (22% to 34%) $10.00
Enriched Air Fill (35% to 40%) $12.00
Enriched Air Fill (41% to 50%) $15.00
Enriched Air Fill Card (12 Fills - Any Mix) $60.00
Enriched Air Visual (VIP) $25.00
Enriched Air Hydro (Includes VIP & Tank Cleaning) $80.00
Tumble (Hydro Required With Tumble) $50.00