To breathe or not to breathe….enriched air?

I’ve been diving for almost six years now and for six years I’ve been meaning to become an enriched air diver. Better late than never, right? Problem was, I didn’t really know where to start. So, I did what any rational scuba diver would do, and contacted the dive shop that I got my open water certification with. I did all of my classroom and pool training with Eco Dive Center, so I trust them when it comes to certification.

I have to admit, when signing up to get certified to dive with Nitrox, I was fully expecting classroom sessions, a weekend dive or two and maybe some reading. When Beth advised that the class was online, I didn’t really know what to think. I also had several options with regard to who I wanted to get certified through. I ended up choosing TDI / SDI. To be quite frank, the only reason why I chose them instead of PADI is because I already have my open water certification through PADI and I wanted to try another company.

So, I paid for my course and got my eLearning code and off I went. First thing you do when you log on to take the course? Sign off on TWELVE disclaimers. Yes, 12. Which is fine. Scuba diving is a sport that should always be taken seriously. And I definitely wasn’t about to rush through a course that’s teaching me about an air mixture that I’m going to breathe into my body. Focus? Check! Disclaimers signed off on, medical history filled out, and now on to the important stuff.

Before I even start reading the material for my certification course, I get a summary of what I’ll be reading. I’m not going to lie. When I saw this list of seven chapters, it overwhelmed me a little. This looked to me like it was going to be a very long day.

  • Chapter 1 : This is Nitrox
  • Chapter 2 : How Nitrox Works to Give You More Bottom Time
  • Chapter 3 : Risks Associated with Nitrox Diving
  • Chapter 4 : Equipment for Nitrox Diving
  • Chapter 5 : Filling Your Cylinders with Nitrox
  • Chapter 6 : Planning Nitrox Dives
  • Chapter 7 : Extending Your Nitrox Knowledge

Well, lucky for me it was easy reading. It was easy because it was well written (lots of typos, though) and structured in such a way that it didn’t feel like it was a chore. After every chapter you had to take a quiz in order to move on to the next chapter. Don’t worry. Even if you don’t pass the quiz, you get the opportunity to take it again. After about two hours of intense reading, I passed the final exam at the end of the course.

I learned a lot and I’m really looking forward to doing my first dive with Nitrox in Sipadan in March. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes and whether I’ll choose to dive with enriched air from here on out, or if I’ll be making the switch back to regular air.

Happy Diving! – Esther

How many of you reading this dive with Nitrox? Likes? Dislikes?

3 comments on “To breathe or not to breathe….enriched air?

  1. Good post, I dont use nitrox myself but I am a nitrox instructor there are many pros to running EAN, extended MOD, less deco obligation, ect. Personally I think if you are doing a lot of dives on a day to day basis dive guide or instructor then EAN makes a lot of sence regarding RGB. the cons are its a more expensive gas, the need for o2 cleaning and of course it is only a shallow gas with 40 mtrs being the MOD. would be interested to here your views guys. happy diving

    • The main reason for getting certified in Nitrox for us is because we do a lot of diving in a single day. We don’t really do a lot of deep diving, but when we do, we’ll definitely weigh the pros & cons. We’ll be blogging about our first time using Nitrox in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned. Thanks for your reply!

  2. BCDiver573 says:

    Nitrox was my first specialty, and I haven’t looked back since! Given the opportunity, I always use NitrOx at the right blend for depth. My two cents on the subject is here: http://wp.me/p13YzQ-8t

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