Written by Emily Petley-Jones
The PADI Enriched Air Diver Specialty is the most popular PADI Specialty for certified divers. From the age of 12 divers can take this course which can be completed in just a few hours at your local dive centre. The course is generally completed without dives, though there are optional open water dives. Read on for our four top reasons why this should be your next specialty…
Breathe less nitrogen when you dive
The primary benefit for using enriched air whilst diving is that you are exposed to less nitrogen when you go diving. The higher the percentage of oxygen in the cylinder means you will be breathing less nitrogen. You can use this benefit to your advantage in a couple of ways; one option is to extend your no stop time during your dives, so you get longer dive times, especially when completing repetitive dives. Alternatively, you might prefer to continue to dive within the no stop limits for air, but use the reduced intake of nitrogen to increase your personal safety margin whilst diving.
Longer bottom times
Typically when using enriched air divers will get mixes which are either 32% or 36% oxygen, and this makes enriched air ideal for diving at shallower depths. For example, when diving with air to 18 metres using the Recreational Dive Planner, you would have a maximum no stop limit of 56 minutes on a single dive. For the same depth, but using a 32% mix of enriched air, you would have a no stop limit of 95 minutes at 18 metres. Potentially this means that you would have up to an additional 39 minutes dive time on this profile compared with air, though don’t forget to check your gauges as you will still be breathing through the gas in your cylinder at the same rate.
Work towards further qualifications and learn about your dive computer
On the Enriched Air Diver course, you can learn about planning enriched air dives using dive tables or your dive computer. Most divers these days will use a dive computer when planning their dives, and fortunately the vast majority of dive computers are compatible for use with enriched air. If you are thinking about purchasing your first dive computer, you might wish to speak with your dive centre about the possibility of completing the PADI Enriched Air Diver course at the same time, as this will enhance your understanding of how your computer actually works. Likewise, if you have ambitions to become a PADI Divemaster one day, completing the PADI Enriched Air Diver course will help you to understand concepts that will help develop your understanding of decompression theory and physiology. The great news is that you can link the PADI Enriched Air Diver course with any other PADI certification. Find out more about which other PADI Specialty Diver courses buddy up well.
Enhance your holidays
Divers who enjoy some of the most benefits of diving with enriched air are those who like to take diving holidays. If you are planning a holiday to a dive resort or on a liveaboard, you can expect to complete a lot of repetitive dives over several days. If you are using enriched air to extend your bottom time, this could potentially equate to hours of additional dive time over the course of the holiday – imagine how many more critters you might see!
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