Saturation Diving

(Surface Supplied Diving Procedure)

Logo of Saturation diving
Surface Supplied Diving Procedure
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What is Saturation diving?

Saturation diving is diving for periods long enough to bring all tissues into equilibrium with the partial pressures of the inert components of the breathing gas. It is a diving technique that allows divers to reduce the risk of decompression sickness ("the bends") when they work at great depths for long periods of time because once saturated, decompression time does not increase with further exposure. Saturation divers typically breathe a helium–oxygen mixture to prevent nitrogen narcosis, but at shallow depths saturation diving has been done on nitrox mixtures. In saturation diving, the divers live in a pressurized environment, which can be a saturation system on the surface, or an ambient pressure underwater habitat when not in the water. Transfer to and from the pressurised surface living quarters to the equivalent depth is done in a closed, pressurised diving bell. This may be maintained for up to several weeks, and they are decompressed to surface pressure only once, at the end of their tour of duty. By limiting the number of decompressions in this way, the risk of decompression sickness is significantly reduced, and the time spent decompressing is minimised. It is a very specialized form of diving; of the 3,300 commercial divers employed in the United States in 2015, only 336 were saturation divers.

Technology Types

diving decompressionprofessional divingsurface supplied diving procedure


Breathing gas reclaim systemGas reclaim systemGas-reclaim systemHelium reclaim systemHyperbaric lifeboatSaturation diveSaturation diving systemSaturation spreadSaturation system


Buceo de saturación (es)Mättnadsdykning (sv)Plongée en saturation (fr)Sättigungstauchen (de)포화잠수 (ko)飽和潜水 (ja)

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 — Date merged: 11/6/2021, 1:32:54 PM
 — Date scraped: 5/20/2021, 6:26:49 PM