Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest

Show the world what the ocean and Great Lakes mean to you.

In celebration our National Get Into Your Sanctuary events, NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is hosting a photo contest. From July 1 through August 31, send us your best photos of the National Marine Sanctuary System and help us celebrate the beauty and importance of these special places.

Winning photos will be featured in next year's Earth Is Blue Magazine and on the Earth Is Blue social media campaign. Check out the 2016 winners and entries here.

Remember to practice good ocean etiquette when taking your photos!

The 2017 photo contest has closed! Check out the winning photos below, and all the entries here.

point arena lighthouse
1st Place, Sanctuary Views: Michael Beattie. The Point Arena Lighthouse, Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.
sea nettle backlit by sunlight
1st Place, Sanctuary Life: Curtis Wee. A bloom of sea nettles drifts through Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
surfer overlooking waves
1st Place, Sanctuary Portraits: Douglas Croft. A surfer contemplates the swell at Lighthouse Point in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Photo Categories

Photos will be accepted from July 1 to August 31 in the following categories:

Sanctuary Views: Share your photos of beautiful sunsets or scenic shots of your favorite national marine sanctuary.

Sanctuary Life: Send us your best photos of sanctuary inhabitants like fish, birds, marine mammals, and other amazing ocean creatures.

Sanctuary Portraits: Enter your best images of people enjoying national marine sanctuaries, whether they're boating, kayaking, diving, swimming, conducting research, or just hanging out on the beach.

How to Enter

Submit your images (minimum of 1200 pixels wide, no more than 10) to us at All images MUST include the following information: photographer's name, short description of when and where the photo was taken, and what is shown in the photo.

For photos of protected species like marine mammals, help us highlight wildlife photography best practices, and indicate what kind of camera/lens you used and the approximate distance from which you took the photo. Animals need plenty of space to stay healthy and safe, so let's share our collective knowledge of responsible photography!

Additional Contest Rules

  1. Photographers must be at least 13 years of age or older as of July 1, 2017.

  2. We will assume that, in submitting a photo, you are the owner of the photo and have the right to publish it (including permission/model release for anyone identifiably pictured).

  3. By submitting a photo, you are giving us permission to use the photo for other purposes, such as on our website, on social media, and in other NOAA and National Marine Sanctuary Foundation publications. We will, of course, provide credit to photographers whenever we use any of the photos.

  4. Only photos taken while in compliance with wildlife viewing regulations and government approach regulations will be considered. Do not harass animals just to get the “perfect’ shot!

  5. Photos that are submitted without information on the photographer and a brief caption will not be considered.

  6. No watermarks on submitted photos.

  7. Photos should be a minimum of 1200 pixels wide (but the bigger, the better!).

  8. Please limit the total number of your photo submissions to 10 entries.

Ready to Submit Your Photos?

Send them to!