The Evolution Of NITROX Access

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Posted by seahunt on June 08, 2002 at 20:40:54:

In general, NITROX has a lot of positive points to it. The drawback has always been accessibility and the need for a tank dedicated to it.
It is not as useful on the west coast as on the east, so it has caught on here a lot less quickly, still it has a couple of advantages. It is better when the diving is deep enough to present a risk of DCS. That is why it has been more popular on the east coast. It is also a nicer as a diver gets older and more out of shape, their DCS risk just goes up. That is why it was been called Geezer Gas.
The problem on the west coast had been that since the diving is generally shallower, NITROX has not been that important, but in general, in some situations it has been desirable.
In any case, some diver shops started to make it available. Unfortunately, in most cases it required dedicated tanks that had been marked as oxygen clean for NITROX. This made it very inconvenient to use, because it was just impractical on boats that only pumped air. Sure, your first tank was NITROX, but after that it was air and technically to use NITROX after that, you would need to have your tank oxygen washed before it to be used again for NITROX.
As time has gone on some of the shops have quit providing NITROX. At the same time, some shops have started to provide NITROX from membrane systems or other systems that did not require a dedicated tank. That make it far more practical for use on the West Coast.
Point in case. Sport Chalet talked about having NITROX, but it would have required a dedicated NITROX tank and they never went forward with it. Ocean Enterprises had NITROX, but their system required dedicated tank's. They quit providing it. The Lois Ann offered NITROX using a membrane system that did not require dedicated tanks. That was great. I even went to the docks on more than one occasion just together NITROX fill in my non-dedicated tanks. It was a bit of a hassle though.
What I'm seen now though, is an adjustment to the requirements of West Coast diving. Some shops now have systems that do not required dedicated tanks. Aqua Tech for example, where I went today and got a NITROX fill in my non-dedicated tank. This means that my first tank of next weekends trip, will be NITROX. This offers me a bit of an edge that I appreciate as I get older.
This shows a practical evolution not of the use of NITROX, but the availability making more practical to use on the West Coast. I like it.
Enjoy the diving, seahunt

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