Nitrox: Longer Bottom Time, More Fun! 

Perhaps you remember learning that many divers choose to get their Enriched Air Nitrox certification after achieving their Open Water or Advanced Certification. You may even remember reading about Nitrox in your Open Water book when you first started diving. At West End Divers in Roatan Honduras, we have our very own Nitrox compressor and love introducing divers to Nitrox, no matter what their experience level.


Nitrox, also known as Enriched Air Nitrox or EANx, is essentially just air that has additional oxygen in it. While the air around us has 21% (technically 20.9%!) oxygen in it, recreational Nitrox mixes contain anywhere from 22% to 40% oxygen. A higher percentage of oxygen in your tank means that there is less buildup of nitrogen in your blood at depth. As a result, the higher the percentage of oxygen, the longer your no decompression limit (NDL) times are at the bottom, allowing you to spend times at deeper depths for a longer period of time. 


You may be thinking that this sounds great: why not dive Nitrox all of the time? As you may remember from your open water or advanced open water class, the deeper you go, the more concentrated the gas in your tank becomes. You may also remember that at a certain depth, oxygen becomes toxic; when you are diving with Nitrox, this happens at a much shallower depth than it does with air because you are breathing in more and more oxygen at each breath the deeper you go. Oxygen toxicity can be extremely dangerous, so it is important to pay attention to your oxygen levels as you dive. As a result, different blends of Nitrox have different maximum operating depths; for 32% Nitrox, one of the most common blends, the maximum operating depth (MOD) is 111 feet. For 36% Nitrox, another of the most common blends, the MOD is only 96 feet. 


When you take a Nitrox course with West End Divers, we will teach you how to take advantage of all of the benefits of diving Nitrox while ensuring that you can stay safe and have fun! Many people report feeling much better after diving all day on Nitrox versus diving on air because their nitrogen levels are lower. While these reports are anecdotal, most divers appreciate using Nitrox for repetitive days, especially over many days. As a result, Nitrox is ideal for a diving vacation in a place like Roatan, where there is so much to see on our reefs!

West End Divers’ Nitrox courses are easy to complete while on vacation. The book work is extremely short, and there are no in-water exercises to complete. You don’t have to miss any of your scheduled dives to complete your Nitrox certification, and will be able to start diving using Enriched Air as soon as you finish the coursework. We are happy to certify individuals or groups, and would love to create dive profiles that take advantage of Enriched Air’s long bottom times to help you see more of Roatan’s amazing reef. 

Contact us today about our convenient stay and dive packages, and ask about including a Nitrox certification and/or Nitrox dives in your custom package. All you have to do is pick your dates and pack your bags, and we will take care of the rest! We can’t wait to see you soon!