Diving | Systems and Technology | NOAA's Undersea Research Center at the University of North Carolina Wilmington

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Wet Diving Technology

The center specializes in wet diving technology, in particular, Enriched Air Nitrox, generally referred to as nitrox. Nitrox contains more oxygen and less nitrogen than air. Therefore, less nitrogen accumulates in tissues during diving and bottom time can be increased without increasing risk of decompression sickness ("the bends"). Through use of proper tables, nitrox techniques can increase a diver's bottom time at 29-32 m by as much as 200 percent over ambient air diving during a 12-hour work day. In addition to scuba and nitrox, the center provides advanced in situ sampling equipment to enhance the productivity of scientists. Underwater video cameras, through-water communications, and specialized collection and experimental devices are a few examples. In 1999, the center extended its scuba depth capabilities down to 80 meters using advanced scientific diving procedures (technical diving) that take advantage of multiple breathing mixtures and in-water decompression.

Below, a tech diver can be seen at an in-water decompression stop. Tech divers carry all appropriate bottom and decompression gas necessary to allow them to complete an entire dive independent of support divers.

Image of technical diver


Find out more about NURC's diving program in the Scuba/Tech Diving One-Pager