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Commercial NITROX diving

Limitations of using AIR as a breathing gas during Commercial Diving Operations

Air (21/79) is the breathing gas of choice for most Commercial Diving Companies and Divers alike. The reason is mostly that AIR is readily available and relatively uncomplicated to compress and store in air-tanks. If one takes a look at the physiological properties of AIR compared to other breathing-mixtures during diving operations at certain depths we discover that AIR is most likely not the best option as a breathing medium. Especially in the depth-range of 17 meters to 30 meters. The negative aspect of AIR is the relatively high amount of Nitrogen in the mixture. AIR consists of aprox. 21% Oxygen and 79% Nitrogen. The Nitrogen is relatively nonreactive during inhalation but it is still the gas causing problems for divers as for example the BENDS and Nitrogen Narcosis. Therefore when divers use Dive-tables they are in essence tracking their body´s theoretical Nitrogen-load.

Advantages of reducing the Nitrogen content in Divers Breathing-Gas

To optimize the breathing gas one option is to reduce the portion of Nitrogen in the breathing mixture. This can be done in several ways for example by adding more Oxygen to the mixture. This procedure gives the diver what is called enriched air or NITROX. Lowering the divers exposure to Nitrogen will in turn expand their allowed bottom-time in specific depth ranges considerably. This is very important for Commercial Divers because expanding a divers effective allowable work- time on the bottom makes a huge difference for the divers and their customers.

Potential of Nitrox diving for Commercial Divers

The potential for diving companies using NITROX is that they can greatly expand the effectiveness of their Divers. This gives more planning flexibility and increased revenue potential compared with when diving operations are done using AIR. For instance if the work-depth is at 30 msw an diver using AIR has 25 min. of allowable bottom-time. The Diver utilizing NITROX or enriched air with an Oxygen content of 36% has an allowable bottom-time of 40 min in comparison. This gives the NITROX diver aprox 62% more allowable work time at the work-site.

The sections of the Commercial Diving Operations that could benefit greatly from using NITROX here in the High North Atlantic Ocean are the Diving Companies that service the Open Ocean Fish Farming Industry and the Diving Companies operating in the construction Industry. Some of the Diving Companies within these two sections of the Diving Industry have started to implement NITROX diving with great success.

The faroese Commercial Diving School trains and certifies divers in procedures in how to plan their diving using NITROX or Enriched Air for their Commercial Operations and how to prepare their breathing gas. To be certified to utilize Enriched Air Commercially our students will need to attend theoretical lectures and to pass an written exam and practical diving and practical gas-mixing and equipment preparation assignments.  As with most of our Commercial Diver Training the theoretical lectures are held using our Online-Classroom. This will greatly cut down on the time students or your staff are required to be onsite and gives students the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and competences without loosing valuable time being away from work..

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