Why Should I Take a Nitrox Certification Course?

Whenever a question is asked regarding “who should take this scuba course?”, the question in generally answered that “Everyone should take this scuba course.”  Who should take an Advance course?  Everyone.  Who should take a Nitrox Course? Everyone.  Who should take a Rescue Diver course?  Why, everyone should take this course.  At Ocean Gear Scuba Center, we approach this question differently. The truth is that I always begin the answer with these same few sentences.  It is true.  Every diver will benefit from taking a Nitrox Certification Course.  But how?

The answer lies within your desired goal.  There are three principle benefits from a Nitrox Course, or Workshop.  First, you can stay underwater longer. This can be a bit misleading.  If your air consumption is low and you constantly end your dive with a fair amount of “gas in the tank” wishing you could stay longer, then Nitrox will help.  Instead of stopping your 60′ dive at 50 – 55 minutes, you might find you can extend your time to as much as 100 minutes.  That is a huge benefit.

The second benefit to Nitrox is that because of the reduced Nitrogen in the gas you are breathing you are reducing your risk of the decompression sickness. So now you made the same 60′ dive and ended it at 50 – 55 minutes.  You absorbed less Nitrogen and thus reduced your DCS risk.  Now, if you stay at 60′ for nearly 100 minutes, you are back to limiting out on Nitrogen absorption.  So consider how you plan your dive.  With less nitrogen in your system, you won’t need to stay on the surface as long (shorter surface interval time) and that means you may have an opportunity make more dives in the day thus enhancing the value of the cost of the dive day.  Making 3 or 4 dives a day instead of 2 or 3 adds more value to you day without increasing your cost of the dive boat.

The third benefit of Nitrox is one that is a bit harder to codify.  With less Nitrogen in your system you are likely to be less fatigued at the end of the dive day.  If you are on vacation that can make your time with non-diving members of your friends and family more meaningful since you won’t be falling asleep during the second course at dinner.  The issue here that we don’t have a lot of scientific (double blind tested) evidence to confirm this; however, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to support it.

The challenge is that you only get to pick one of these benefits to champion.  If you are staying underwater longer and/or making more dives in a day, you should expect to be more tired at the end of the day – but you did get to stay longer or make more dives.  You cannot benefit with all three of these advantages.

One of those “unspoken benefits” is applied to those of us over the age of 40 years old.  When that time rolls around our brain still believes we can do anything we did as a young kid; however, our brain keeps asking “why are you doing this”.  Diving can be hard on our body while still being generally a good low impact form of exercise.  By increasing the oxygen content in our breathing gas, your body will thank you in very subtle but meaningful ways.  As a broad statement, I think it is safe to say that all divers can benefit from breathing Nitrox; however, it does come with an increased cost for the gas.  If the increase cost (about $12 – $16 a tank) is manageable and you are making multiple dives per day over multiple days you will likely benefit from Nitrox.  If you are pursuing one of the above stated benefits, you will definitely discover the advantage of Nitrox diving.

Wrapping this up, there are some potential divers that shy away from Nitrox because they have been led to believe there is a lot of complicated math and the course is very difficult.  NOTHING could be further from the truth.  The important part of a Nitrox course is understanding what is happening to your body and what role you play in your own physical wellbeing.  In an age when there are “apps for everything”, never be afraid of the math.  In an Nitrox course you will learn how to manage a situation, figure out the best gas mix or the maximum operating depth – using very simple apps or calculators.  Never be intimidated by math.  That is way we have calculators and computers.

I cannot speak for other shops; however, I know that our course is two class sessions of lecture and conversation and a third session that is a hands-on workshop. It is an eye-opening experience and a great review of some things you might not have thought about since your Open Water course.  The Nitrox course is the ONLY course that can truly be taken simultaneously with and Open Water, Advanced or Master Diver course. We offer courses every other month or more often if the need is there.

Check our Event Calendar for our next Nitrox Course.