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Diving on Nitrox

Is it worth it?

Dear readers, a good morning to you!

So, Nitrox or not Nitrox? An existential diver's question. Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit.

As is often the case, the answer is: it depends. I know you don't like this answer.

How many times have I heard people make themselves cool and say "I dive with Nitrox", like "I'm a pro", "a tekki". Or worse yet, thoughts like "With Nitrox I can go deeper". Which is false and indicates that the person has missed the fundamentals of Nitrox.

Sorry to kill the myth but no, diving with Nitrox is not very technical, the course is not even really difficult. Nothing superhuman then.

Small reminder on these famous bottles with their yellow and green labels: Nitrox or Enriched Air Nitrox (the correct name) is a mixture in which the quantity of oxygen is greater than 21% and up to 40%. In general the bottles are prepared around 33% even if you are always told that 32% or 36% are the most common.

I will not give you a course on Nitrox (I will do a dedicated article separately for those who are interested). For today, let's focus on the benefits instead.

Plus points

  • A longer dive time (at a given and constant depth).

  • No negative physiological effects. Oxygen toxicity only occurs at high doses and over a long period of time. But as usual, you should watch out for any symptoms.

  • You will feel less tired from repetitive diving.

  • No specific equipment required.

  • An interesting course overall. Your first steps towards the study of gases for those interested.

Minus points

  • A potential additional cost: Nitrox is rarely free or included in the price of the dive. This usually comes as an extra.

  • Due to the partial pressure of oxygen (1.4 / bar maximum as a reference), you will have to limit the depth of the dive. For example, with a 40% mixture you will reach the partial pressure of 1.2 / bar at 20 meters.

But take it easy, overall this should not be too much of a handicap given that in recreational diving you will rarely go beyond 30 meters.

The cost of the training

  • This will vary based on location and school but I would say USD 150 on average.

Friendly reminders

  • Always check the oxygen level in your cylinders yourself. Even if it is already labelled on it.

  • Put your dive computer in Nitrox mode and set the oxygen level.

  • A deviation of +/- 1% is tolerated as a margin of error.

  • Do not smoke nearby (oxygen does not like it).

  • Safety stop recommended despite the reduced nitrogen rate.


  • Useful if you repeat dives over a few days: your time limit in diving without decompression stops will be extended.

  • Also, you will feel less tired. At least that is the opinion of many people.

  • Over a day (say 2-3 dives), I never saw the difference to be honest. Not worth it.

Have a good dive!


The Diving Bear

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