Sound Dive Center is the first Dive Center in the Puget Sound to teach and provide Nitrox commercially to the recreation diver (1993). We currently have two specially designed NITROX compressor systems. With over 10,000 cubic ft of stored Nitrox, we can provide immediate “cold & slow fills” at 32% or NN1(NOAA Nitrox 1). Higher and custom “Hydrocarbon Free” mixes can be provided up to 50%, with our special “oil less Rix” compressor.

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We have taught Nitrox Specialty classes to the Military, National Parks (Olympic) Rangers, Diving safety officer(s) at Battle NW, plus over a 1000 recreation divers. We use special Nitrox mixes in our Rebreather classes. We even teach Instructors how to teach Nitrox to their students.

Nitrox has been around since we first swam in the oceans. Its normal and not exotic. It’s better than air and it can be air. When you dive you always choose Nitrox. Whether you choose the right mix is up to your educated or non-educated choice.

What are we talking about. This thing called Nitrox is not that gas that the dentist gives you (nitrous). It is by definition, any mix of nitrogen and oxygen from 1% to 40% o2 and the corresponding match of Nitrogen. Yes, even air is Nitrox. Yes, you are ….as we speak, a Nitrox diver. Your choice of mixes is 21%… or “21 mix.”

What does it do:
Nitrox will increase your bottom time for some depths, to over double your AIR time. It decreases the amount of Nitrogen that “on gasses” into your body, and subsequently increases the amount of O2 that “on gases” into your tissues. This tends to make you feel much better after a dive.

What’s in a name: Nitrox, EANx, SafeAir, NNI and NNII, Enriched Air Nitrox (EANx) and even heard it call “Hyper Air.”. Its all the same stuff. Just depending on the store that you are going into, will dictate the name that is used. It all should be, as is the case with air (21% mix), clean, free of moisture and and free of contaminates.

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Where did it come from:
Some of the first use’s came from “walking” cave travelers, who explored gas contaminated caves in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Breathing out of compressed air bottles and exhaling the gas was very inefficient, so a “rebreathing” system was developed using pure O2. This worked quite well, and was transferred to diving. Researchers and experimenters found however that the pure O2 caused the user to convulse in the 25ft to 35ft mark (O2 toxicity). So to go deeper, the O2 was diluted with nitrogen to make a “weaker” mix. Hence, Nitrox mixes. The military, of course researched this during W.W.I. and W.W.II and found what the tolerances would be. Germany was first, but England and the US followed. At the end of W.W.II, many of the military divers, went away with this knowledge, which never became common knowledge to the general public. What the military guys learned, was not just the depth tolerances, but the time and depth parameters. I.E.: They could stay down much longer without having to decompress. Think of the possibilities, being able to stay down at a given depth for twice the time without injury. Twice or three time the bottom time, reduced many costs and need for as many divers. Money in the pocket, safely. If you were a commercial diver or dive operation owner.

So where has it been all this time?
Well for a number of reasons.

  1. A secret is a secret. Why would these guys give away their knowledge that helped them win bids and business.
  2. The people in the know (manufactures and dive agencies) didn’t want to know or weren’t willing to learn this “new” stuff.
  3. It costs: many dive stores are not run as business’s and can’t afford the costs of putting in Nitrox systems.

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Why now
Well for once our government has come up with some direct benefits to the diving community. NOAA, Dick Rutcousky and a host of other people researched Nitrox for the NOAA diving program. They wanted to stay down longer during their U/W research. NN1 or “NOAA Nitrox One” (32%) came first, and later “NOAA Nitrox Two” (36%). That was in the late 80″s and early 90’s.

But once again, why did it not catch on until 96 or 97. Well, as we get older, we don’t embrace change.

Luckily, there was a group of us who saw the writing on the wall and invested into this. In the Summer of 94, SDC put in a “Rix” Nitrox compressor system and was one of three in the Puget Sound to actively train divers in NITROX. Using the ANDI certifying agency, most staff embraced NITROX (not all the staff wanted it then, but do now).

15 years later, all manufactures, agencies and dive stores now promote, endorse and support Nitrox diving.
SDC now endorsees NAUI, PADI, TDI, ANDI, SSI, IANTD Nitrox training programs. We currently train Nitrox divers, instructors and rebreather and rebreather instructors.

But once again, why did it not catch on until 96 or 97. Well, as we get older, we don’t embrace change.

Luckily, there was a group of us who saw the writing on the wall and invested into this. In the Summer of 94, SDC put in a “Rix” Nitrox compressor system and was one of three in the Puget Sound to actively train divers in NITROX. Using the ANDI certifying agency, most staff embraced NITROX (not all the staff wanted it then, but do now).

20 years later, all manufactures, agencies and dive stores now promote, endorse and support Nitrox diving.
SDC now endorsees NAUI, PADI, TDI, ANDI, SSI, IANTD Nitrox training programs. We currently train Nitrox divers, instructors and rebreather and rebreather instructors.