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Splash Water Sports
2905 Banksville Rd
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15216
Phone: (412) 531-5577
Fax: (412) 531-1960
dive@splashscuba.com

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January through April
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Tuesday - Friday: 11am to 7pm
Saturday: 10am to 5pm

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Closed Sundays
Monday - Friday: 11am to 7pm
Saturday: 10am to 5pm

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Project AWARE

Why should I dive Enriched Air?

We here at Splash are regularly asked” Why should I dive Enriched Air?”.

PADI Enriched Air

Splash Water Sports talks about one it’s most asked student questions

First let’s explain what Enriched Air is. It’s basically the same Air that non-enriched Air is, but the Oxygen Blend is higher. The Air we all breathe every day is 21% Oxygen with the other 78% being Nitrogen. In the context of recreational diving, what Enriched Air does is it increases the Oxygen percentage up to no more than 40% (more reasons on that later).

Now, let’s talk about why we dive Enriched Air. Due to the lower Nitrogen percentage, when we dive with Enriched Air it reduces the amount of nitrogen absorbed into your body vs when you dive regular air. That means you get extended bottom times within recreational limits. When diving Air at 60 feet you have a No Decompression Limit of 60 minutes bottom time. With an Enriched air blend of 32%, your NDL at 60 feet would be 78 minutes. That’s a gain of 18 minutes bottom time! The added No Decompression Limit time also really benefits you if you are diving multiple days and also reduced fatigue from those same efforts. In addition for divers not at optimal fitness or perhaps growing older the increased safety of reducing nitrogen, and increasing available oxygen make for peace of mind.

At this point, you might be asking yourself “this seems easy, why I need a class to dive Enriched Air?”. While diving Enriched Air has its benefits, there are some dangers as well. When it comes to breathing a higher Oxygen percentage it reduces the maximum depth that we can breathe that gas. So it’s important to lean what those limitations are in order to keep you safe and diving another day. You also learn how to analyze you dive tank, as it’s up to you to know exactly what your Oxygen percentage is before you get into the water. Another important step in the process is how to program your computer with the correct O2 percentage so your NDL limit is correctly displayed.

So while yes there are benefits to diving with Enriched Air, it is by no means not a necessity. If you dive in the 30 – 60 foot range, most of the time your tank will run out before you run out of NDL time on both Air and Enriched Air. So our instructors at Splash are asked by someone if they should take the class, the answer they’ll give is that you shouldn’t unless you. But if you ask any of them if they dive Enriched Air, they will all say yes.

If you are interested in becoming a certified PADI Enriched Air Diver, you have a couple of options. The First is to sign up for the monthly Enriched Air Class available at Splash and involves classroom work that generally only lasts 1-2 hrs. with no dives required. Call the store at (412) 531-5577 for information. The Second option is you can sign up the PADI Enriched Air Diver Online E-Learning class here and start learning right away. Either way, we think you will be glad you did.

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