Well the short and simple to the question is that it really DEPENDS
Depends on what I hear you say? Well what is the purpose of the dive, depth of dive , intended bottom time or maybe just as a safety measure.
I often here so much nonsense discussed when it come to what is really a simple subject. One very experienced instructor once said to me I quote ” Not every body wants to dive deeper just because they have a Nitrox fill” I had to clear my ears and ask him again what did he just say and again he repeated the same inaccuracies. So for all those out there thinking you can dive deeper on Nitrox, can we clear that one up now and say the opposite is infact true. You CANNOT dive as deep on Nitrox as you can on the normal compressed air we put in a tank which is roughly 80% nitrogen and 20% oxygen.
The scary thing was that this particular instructor also bottled Nitrox fills and sold Nitrox courses. Another instructor once said to be that he liked it because he could stay down longer as it lasted longer! Again stuff and nonsense; whether the tank is a Nitrox fill or ordinary compressed air, there is exactly the same volume of air or Nitrox in the tank. No difference at all, so if we had two people sat on the bottom of a 2 meter deep swimming pool and both had same consumption rates then each tank would be exhausted at the same time.
So without getting into all the technicalities, All good SCUBA divers know that the deeper we go the more nitrogen we absorb in to our blood and this can cause a diver all sorts of problems if guidelines are broken or protocols ignored. It also limits our bottom times by making them shorter. Lets put that into context. I went to see the gorgeous Thresher sharks of Malapascua, I was on a Nitrox and a few were on air. We were all kneeling at 26 meters and after 27 minutes the people on air had had their fill of Nitrogen and computers started bleeping time to get to the surface.. They were lucky as they got to see at least one Thresher shark. The rest of us were on Nitrox, and we were able to stay twice the length of time at 26 meters and we got to see 9 of these amazing creatures.
Many people claim that they fill less tired after a day of diving and one of my customers who just booked to go Tubbataha reef, said it made him feel happy! So what is Nitrox? Basically put, some of the nitrogen is replaced by putting in a higher oxygen content into the tank thus reducing the level of Nitrogen and therefore reducing some of the problems Nitrogen can cause SCUBA divers. Can anyone use it? Yes, but not without specialist training so that you understand both the benefits and limitations. So as I said at the start of this article, which is best ..it really does depend.
One thing is for certain; if you want to make the most of your diving days going to places like Tubbataha or the ship wrecks of Coron, then a Nitrox certification would prove to be a wise investment. So get certified with an SSI course here at Aquaholics in beautiful Palawan or our shop in the lovely town of Port Barton for just 7,000 php which includes course and certification card.