The enriched air Nitrox is a nitrogen gas mixture with a high oxygen concentration – usually 32% of oxygen. In other words, this is 11% more than what is found in normal air! The air bottle of Nitrox is marked with a green bandeau between two yellow lines, and the words “Nitrox” or “Enriched Air Nitrox” written on it, to be easily recognizable and not mingled between the regular air bottles.
The use of nitrox in scuba diving is very popular. Indeed, a diver using this enriching air nitrox absorb less nitrogen than a diver using a regular bottle of air. This gives the diver the ability to stay deeper under the water for a longer time, while having a shorter surface interval, as the amount of nitrogen to off-gas is lower. A boon in the area of Amed in Bali, where the use of nitrox gives divers more time to explore the famous Liberty wreck in Tulamben.
It also allows to decrease tiredness and decompression sickness, that’s why it is especially recommended for overweight and elderly people.
However, there is some risk to consider when diving with nitrox. The main one is that the amount of oxygen contained in the bottle can become toxic if the diver goes too deep. As an example, the maximum depth is 36 meters (or 121 feet) on a 32% nitrox bottle, while it is only 30 meters (100 feet) on a 36% one.
Many divers using the enriching air don’t think about it and regularly reach this depth, or go even deeper, putting themselves in danger. To be aware of risks and regulations related to this practice, it is really important to get a training before stating to practice diving with enriching air.
The PADI Enriched diver course is the most popular course taken by PADI students, and especially in Bali Fab Dive. Available for Open Water divers from 12 years old, this specialty allows the diver to learn all the specificity of this practice, along with the considerations that it brings.