Diving Air to Save a Buck

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Benefits of Diving Nitrox

How many times have you heard someone say they’re going to dive air vs Nitrox to save money? Sure, they “save” a few dollars by not getting a Nitrox fill, but they limit their bottom time and shorten their overall dive experience. They may also run a higher risk of getting decompression sickness (The Bends), have increased fatigue after their dive(s) and have longer “no fly” times after a dive trip. I’ll keep things simple and compare an IANTD Open Water Diver (Diver A) to an IANTD Open Water Nitrox Diver (Diver B) and see how things pan out. Using $50.00 cost per dive for Diver A, and $60.00 cost per dive for Diver B, due to the Nitrox fill. Diving to 70 feet (MOD for both divers training level) Diver A, breathing air, has 35 minutes of bottom time, which equals $1.43 a minute. Diver B, breathing 32% Nitrox, has 51 minutes of bottom time, which equals $1.18 a minute. Diver B gets a 45% increase in bottom time and only spent an extra $10.00. Isn’t more time underwater what this is all about? 32% Nitrox is the most common fill for most dive shops, but let’s look at one more gas for comparison. Several places here on the North Carolina Coast also bank 36% Nitrox and don’t charge any more for that fill vs lower percentages of oxygen content. Diver B, breathing 36%, doing the same dive to 70 feet, has 75 minutes of bottom time. Compared to diving air, Diver B has doubled his possible dive time and lowered his per minute cost to $0.80. So the next time you want to save a buck diving, do it with Nitrox...

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