Dive Organization Approves the Use of Oxygen-Enriched Air

Reed Travel Features

GEORGE TOWN -- Agents who book dive clients, take note: the Cayman Islands has made it easier than ever to sell the destination as a dive site.

The 57-member Cayman Islands Watersports Operators Association recently approved the use of oxygen-enriched air, called nitrox.

Nitrox is any combination of nitrogen and oxygen; the air that everyone breathes is 21% oxygen and 79% nitrogen.

However, nitrox mixtures with percentages of oxygen greater than 21% are called Enriched Air Nitrox (EANx).

These mixtures have been used extensively for more than 30 years by commercial organizations, the military and certain medical groups.

Advanced divers use EANx for cave diving, wreck diving and marine harvesting.

More recently, EANx was recognized by national scuba diving certification agencies as an alternate breathing gas for recreational diving.

The recent CIWOA decision allows use of nitrox by recreational certified divers or by those who enroll in approved nitrox certification courses in the Cayman Islands.

In December 1995, CIWOA approved the use of oxygen-enriched air for a one-year trial period by CIWOA divemasters who had completed nitrox training courses.

Approximately 24 CIWOA members took part in nitrox training dives, which resulted in the unanimous support of nitrox as one of a working divemaster's tools of the trade.

A growing number of dive operations on Grand Cayman now offer nitrox dives for certified nitrox divers.

Divetech, an operator that specializes in technical diving services and mixed-gas diving, is located near the Cracked Conch by the Sea Restaurant, just north of the Turtle Farm on Grand Cayman's northwest point.

According to Jim Dailey, director, Divetech offers one-day nitrox certification courses for certified advanced open-water divers who have logged at least 10 open-water dives.

The course is priced at $220 and includes four hours of classroom lectures and two dives using EANx.

For further information, call Divetech at (345) 949-1700 or contact the Web site address at [email protected]

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