1. Find a dive center you can trust.
If you thought getting air from a reputable dive center was important, getting an enriched air fill from a reputable blender is even more important. Look for a dive center with certified blenders and dependable analyzers. Make sure they are using all of the documentation techniques you learned in your PADI Enriched Air Diver course.
2. Get a nitrox-enabled dive computer.
The biggest drawback to enriched air diving is dive planning. A nitrox dive computer makes enriched air diving easier and safer.
3. Become an expert with your dive computer.
Making mistakes with your dive computer when diving enriched air can lead to serious accidents. Make sure you know how to use your dive computer. This means knowing how to properly set the FO2 (fraction of oxygen) and PO2 (partial pressure of oxygen). It also means understanding alerts for exceeding maximum operating depths and maximum oxygen exposure.
4. Make sure to set your computer before every dive.
Many dive computers require you to reset the computer before every dive. Failure to do so can cause the computer to set maximum oxygen and nitrogen levels. This is done to ensure that you have not changed to a new gas that is different from the one used on the previous dive.
5. Find a dive buddy who uses the same gas blend as you do.
If you or your buddy runs out of no decompression time, you will be going to the surface just as you would if one of you ran low on air. Therefore, make sure both you and your buddy are certified to use enriched air and that you are using compatible blends.
Common Nitrox Misconceptions
Divers use Nitrox to increase safety.
This is not true. Recreational divers use enriched air to extend bottom time. Technical divers use enriched air to shorten decompression time.
Nitrox is safer than air.
This is not true. More complex dive planning offsets any slight safety improvement.
Nitrox makes you feel better.
There is some empirical evidence that using enriched air helps prevent headaches and gives the diver more energy due to the higher oxygen percentage. However, this is not true for everyone. Developing proper breathing and buoyancy techniques, staying in shape, and pacing yourself on every dive are likely to be far more effective.
You can dive deeper on nitrox.
This is totally false. Breathing more than 21 percent oxygen requires that you stay at a shallower depth. Use enriched air for shallow dives.
Nitrox reduces the risk of nitrogen narcosis.
This is also not true. Oxygen is just as narcotic as nitrogen under pressure. Use extreme care when diving enriched air at deeper depths.