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.
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.
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