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Scuba Diving Safety: Know Your Breathing Gases

Scuba diving is one of the most popular escapes that sea lovers can get from the world above. The eerie beauty and calm of the underwater world can only be really enjoyed if you can visit them for relatively long periods of time. This is only possible through scuba diving.

 As enjoyable as scuba diving is, it is still a very serious undertaking and care must be taken to make sure of your safety. A good first step into addressing the need for you to be aware of the things that you need to be careful of when scuba diving is to understand how the breathing gases in the tank of your scuba diving kit work.

 You might think that the gases in your scuba diving tank is basically oxygen, the primary component essential to a human's ability to breath. Yes, the scuba diving tank does contain mostly oxygen and some scuba divers use mainly conventional atmospheric air in their scuba diving tanks.

However, there are also other possible gas mixtures available for scuba diving. These mixtures help to make the sport of scuba diving much safer. They also allow scuba divers to stay underwater for longer periods than compared to when scuba divers use only common air mixtures. Here is a quick review of the common gas mixtures found in scuba diving gas tanks.

1. Nitrox -  Nitrox is basically a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen. This particular "breathing gas" mixture is used by scuba divers who dive to a depth of up to 130 ft only. Nitrox contains a higher concentration of oxygen compared to what you can find in atmospheric air. The reduced amount of nitrogen in Nitrox significantly lessens the effects of residual nitrogen in the body when divers go to depths of 130 feet and less.

2. Heliox - Heliox combines both oxygen and helium in the tank. Nitrogen narcosis being one of the biggest problems of scuba diving, many attempts have been made to negate its effects on divers. Heliox is one such attempt. It is specifically made to negate the effects of Nitrogen narcosis. Heliox is very common among commercial scuba divers.

3. Hydreliox - Hydreliox combines oxygen, helium and hydrogen in the scuba diving tank. With Hydreliox in their tanks, scuba divers can safely pursue diving depths of up to four hundred feet.

4. Trimix - Trimix uses oxygen, nitrogen and helium as the "breathing gas" for scuba diving. Trimix is most commonly encountered in dives where there is a large risk of either oxygen toxicity or nitrogen narcosis. This is most common among deep scuba diving treks. The helium is specifically added to the mix of nitrogen and oxygen in order to counter the partial pressure potential of nitrogen and oxygen at such great depths.

Clearly, one of the greatest concern for scuba divers is their diving tank and what is inside it. Scuba diving professionals put a lot of importance in checking their scuba diving tanks before their dives. For safety's sake, this should also be your priority when you go scuba diving.