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## What Does the Term “Narked” Mean in Scuba Diving?

In the realm of scuba diving, divers encounter a plethora of unique terms and jargon. One such term that frequently surfaces is “narked,” a vernacular expression used to describe a specific physiological state. This article delves into the intricacies of narcosis and its implications for divers.

### Understanding Nitrogen Narcosis

Nitrogen narcosis, also known as rapture of the deep, is a state of altered consciousness caused by breathing compressed air or other gas mixtures containing nitrogen at elevated partial pressures. As a diver descends deeper into the water column, the pressure exerted on the diver’s body increases. This increased pressure results in a higher partial pressure of nitrogen in the lungs and subsequently in the bloodstream.

### Symptoms of Narcosis

The onset of nitrogen narcosis can be gradual, and divers may not initially recognize the symptoms. Some common signs of narcosis include:

– Euphoria and giddiness: Divers may experience feelings of elation, relaxation, and a carefree attitude.
– Impaired judgment and decision-making: Narcosis can cloud decision-making, leading to risk-taking behavior and poor judgment calls.
– Confusion and disorientation: Divers may experience difficulty concentrating, become confused about their surroundings, or lose track of time.
– Slurred speech and motor incoordination: Narcosis can affect coordination and muscle control, resulting in slurred speech, difficulty with fine motor skills, and impaired balance.
– Visual hallucinations: In severe cases, narcosis can cause visual hallucinations, such as seeing bright colors, geometric patterns, or distorted images.

### Managing Narcosis

The key to managing narcosis is to be aware of the signs and symptoms and to take appropriate precautions. Here are some strategies to mitigate the risks associated with narcosis:

– Ascend gradually: Limit the rate of ascent to approximately 10 meters per minute (33 feet per minute). Slow ascents allow the nitrogen to slowly escape from the body’s tissues.
– Use nitrox: Nitrox is a gas mixture containing less nitrogen and more oxygen than compressed air. Using nitrox reduces the partial pressure of nitrogen and thus the risk of narcosis at greater depths.
– Stay hydrated: Dehydration can worsen the effects of narcosis. Divers should stay well-hydrated by consuming plenty of fluids, such as water or electrolyte drinks.
– Avoid alcohol and drugs: Alcohol and drugs can exacerbate the symptoms of narcosis. Divers should avoid consuming these substances before or during a dive.
– Consider using supplemental oxygen: Supplemental oxygen can help to alleviate the symptoms of narcosis by reducing the partial pressure of nitrogen in the body.

### Narcosis and Depth Limits

The effects of nitrogen narcosis vary from person to person. Some divers are more susceptible to narcosis than others. Generally, the depth at which a diver experiences narcosis depends on several factors, including the individual’s sensitivity, the dive profile, and the gas mixture being used.

The following are approximate depth limits for the onset of nitrogen narcosis:

– Mild narcosis: 30-40 meters (98-131 feet)
– Moderate narcosis: 40-60 meters (131-197 feet)
– Severe narcosis: Over 60 meters (197 feet)

### Conclusion

Nitrogen narcosis is a potential hazard that divers need to be aware of. By understanding the symptoms and implementing appropriate management strategies, divers can mitigate the risks associated with narcosis and enjoy safe and enjoyable dives.

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