Isle Royale National Park, known for its clear frigid waters and well-preserved historic shipwrecks, is the first NPS park dive program to develop and implement nitrox as the standard breathing gas for SCUBA operations.
The EAN34 mixture, or enriched air nitrox containing 34% oxygen, will replace air in the parks standard operation procedure to maximize the dive teamâs safety as they continue to monitor and maintain buoys on the parks 10 historic shipwrecks, ranging from the 1870âs to the mid 1900âs.
The National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) nitrox training and certification coincided with an NPS 24-hour core dive workshop, required every three years by the NPS diving management manual (RM-4).
The workshop was staffed by divemaster Pete Sweger, park dive officer Steve Martin, Midwest Region dive officer Bob Whaley and national dive control board chair Brett Seymour. The park dive team is rounded out by district ranger Marshall Plumer and lead bio tech Mark Romanski. In addition to designing and installing a nitrox blending system in the parkâs dive locker, the team also began an invasive species monitoring program to conduct underwater surveys at the park marinas to detect zebra or quagga mussels found elsewhere in the Great Lakes.