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Underwater Awards Australasia 2024

Rules & Guidelines

Summary of Main Points
  • Entries must be received by August 1st, 2024 at 11.59PM PST (Pacific Standard Time) UTC−08:00.
  • Entrants are not permitted to submit entries that have been awarded any prize, commendation, or another award in any international competition before May 1st, 2024.
  • A one-off non-refundable fee of USD10 per entry is payable by the entrant at the time of submission.
  • Entries to the competition must have been shot in the Australasian region, with the exception of the categories “Sydney,” “Australian,” and “International Waters.”
  • For the purposes of the competition, “Australasia” includes Australia, New Zealand, and the countries of Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, and Southeast Asia (see map).
  • For all Photo categories, digital files must be submitted as JPGs/JPEGs and sized to be between 2,000 and 6,000 pixels in the longest dimension. Entries in the “Portfolio” category must be a single JPG/JPEG portfolio made up of six (6) images laid out on a grey (#666666) background.
  • The maximum file size for submissions to the Photo categories is 5MB.
  • To enter the Video category, “Reels Showcase,” you must first create your Instagram Reel and share it with us, and then finish the submissions process by paying for your entry.

For more details, see below.

    1. The main objectives of the Underwater Awards Australasia (“the Competition”) are to enhance, exhibit, and promote the art of underwater and ocean photography and to to help raise public awareness about protecting marine and aquatic environments.
    2. The Competition is a joint project by Underwater Australasia, DivePhotoGuide and UW Images (“the Owners”).
    3. The entry and results publishing process is managed on DivePhotoGuide’s online platform,
    4. The Competition comprises a photography and video competition open to anyone. Entrants aged under 18 years require consent from their parent or guardian, who should receive all correspondence. Any contact with the Owners regarding the Competition (unless specified otherwise) should be via the email address:
    5. An independent panel of experts comprising a chair and judges (“the Jury”) will be appointed by the Owners to select and award the winners of the categories and the overall winner (“Best of Show”).
    6. Selected entries to the Competition may be displayed in an exhibition at the Go Diving Show ANZ in Sydney, Australia in September 2024 (“the Exhibition”), featured online, in publicity materials relating to the Competition and/or the Exhibition, or as merchandising according to the terms hereunder.
    1. Entries must be received by August 1st, 2024 at 11.59PM PST (Pacific Standard Time) UTC−08:00 (“the Closing Date”).
    2. The Competition is open to anyone except individuals (and their partners and family) involved in its organisation or judging or employees of the Owners or any official partners, supporters, or sponsors of the Competition. Entrants under 18 years of age at the Closing Date must have the permission of a parent or guardian.
    3. By entering the Competition, the entrant agrees to maintain the highest standards in all matters relating to the Competition and not to do or say anything that does or might damage the reputation of the Owners, the Competition, the other entrants, or the official partners, supporters, or sponsors of the Competition and/or the Exhibition. The entrant acknowledges that entry into the Competition does not grant any rights in any intellectual property rights of the Competition and/or the Owners, and agrees not to use any names, logos, or other intellectual property rights of any of them or to make any public statement regarding any of them without the prior written consent of the Owners.
    4. It is the responsibility of each entrant into the Competition to ensure that they have read and will abide by these Rules & Guidelines. By submitting an entry, each entrant agrees to the Rules & Guidelines, that their entry complies with the Rules & Guidelines, and that they will be liable to the Owners and their licensees in respect of any damages or losses incurred as a breach of the Rules & Guidelines by the entrant.
    5. Entrants must submit entries that are associated with the theme of underwater, ocean, river, lakes, or other natural bodies of water.
    6. Entrants are not permitted to submit entries that:
      1. have been awarded any prize, commendation, or another award in any international competition before May 1st, 2024;
      2. feature farm animals, family pets, and/or cultivated plants, aquarium or zoo exhibits;
      3. portray captive or restrained animals, animal models, and/or any other animal being exploited for profit unless for the purposes of reporting on a specific issue regarding the treatment of animals by a third party;
      4. have been captured using live bait;
      5. do not meet the photo and video specifications detailed in Section 5 and Section 6, respectively
    1. Entry must be via the online platform,
    2. A one-off non-refundable fee of USD10 per entry is payable by the entrant at the time of submission.
    3. Entrants may enter one or more entries in one category, or spread across any number of categories.
    4. The Competition consists of the Photo categories “Sydney,” “Over-Under,” “Smartphone,” “Environmental,” “Australian,” “International Waters,” and “Portfolio”; and the Video category “Reels Showcase.”
    5. With the exception of the categories “Sydney,” “Australian,” and “International Waters,” entries must have been shot in the Australasian region. For the purposes of the competition, “Australasia” includes Australia, New Zealand, and the countries of Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, and Southeast Asia (see map).
    6. In the Photo categories, with the exception of the “Portfolio” category, entries will consist solely of still photos, without any insertion of comment or a frame. A single image may be submitted in multiple categories. Each submission equals one (1) entry, i.e., if the entrant wishes to submit the same image into three (3) categories, this would equal three (3) entries. Entries into the “Portfolio” category must comprise six (6) photos arranged in a single image. Any entries with more or fewer than six (6) images will be disqualified.
    7. Entries in the Photo categories must have been taken in, under or around water.
    8. Entry into the Video category “Reels Showcase” entails submitting basic information about your video into and then using Instagram’s collaboration feature to share your work with the Competition Instagram page as an Instagram Reel.
    9. For entries in the Video category, at least 50% of the Reel must consist of underwater video clips.
    1. Any breach of the Competition’s ethics below will constitute a breach of the Rules & Guidelines.
    2. Entrants are required to report on the natural world in a way that is both creative and honest:
      1. Entries must not deceive the viewer or attempt to disguise and/or misrepresent the reality of nature.
      2. Caption information supplied must be complete, true, and accurate.
      3. Entrants must not do anything to injure or distress an animal or damage its habitat in an attempt to secure an image or video clip. This includes flying (or flying a drone) too low or noisily over an animal. An animal’s welfare must come first.
      4. Entrants—including those using drones—are responsible for ensuring full compliance with any applicable national or international legislation and for securing any relevant permits that may be required (which, in the case of human portraits and recordings, will include the subject’s permission) and which must be made available on request by the Owners.
      5. Live baiting is not permitted, and neither is any means of baiting that may put an animal in danger or adversely affect its behaviour, either directly or through irresponsible habituation. Any other means of attraction must be declared in the caption for the Jury and Owners to review.
      6. If the Owners or Jury suspect that an entry has been achieved through unethical practices, the entry will be disqualified. The Owners reserve the right to report the entrant to the applicable authorities.
      7. If, in the process of judging, an entry is flagged for ethics review, the entrant will be contacted and asked to respond to any concerns raised by a required date. The entrant’s response will then be taken into consideration by the Owners and Jury when deciding if the Rules & Guidelines of the competition have been breached.
    1. Photo submissions must be in digital format but the original photo does not need to have been taken on a digital camera. High-quality scans of transparencies or negatives are also acceptable.
    2. For all Photo categories, digital files must be submitted as JPGs/JPEGs, saved at high or maximum quality setting; Adobe RGB (1998) or sRGB colour space; sized to be between 2,000 and 6,000 pixels in the longest dimension. No borders, watermarks, or signatures should be included. The maximum size for each file is 5MB (5,000KB).
    3. Entries in the “Portfolio” category must be a single JPG/JPEG portfolio made up of six (6) images laid out on a grey (#666666) background 6,000 pixels in the longest dimension. The images can be different sizes and orientations and may be displayed according to preference. Do not add borders to your images. Only the images in the portfolio will be judged, not the layout.
    4. Upon upload, a unique and anonymous filename will be generated by the system for each entry.
    5. Any entry that cannot be authenticated or is not of acceptable quality will be disqualified. The Owners reserve the right to ask any entrant to supply the original RAW file and/or a range of “before” and “after” original files for any image that requires further authentication.
    6. Permitted digital adjustments include: global colour, tone and contrast; local adjustments to colour, tone and contrast (e.g., burning, dodging); cropping, sharpening, noise reduction, and minor cleaning work (e.g., removal of sensor dust or scratches on transparencies/scans, removal of chromatic aberration). High dynamic range (HDR) capture, stitched panoramas, and focus stacking are permitted provided that they comply with the Competition’s principles of authenticity so that they do not deceive the viewer or misrepresent the reality of nature. Minor removal of particles/backscatter is permitted but not to the extent that it alters the authenticity of the photo.
    7. The following digital adjustments—but not limited to these—are not permitted: adding, moving, or removing objects, animals or parts of animals, plants, people, structures, etc; composite images comprising more than one original capture, including in-camera multiple exposures; sky replacements; digitally painted foregrounds or backgrounds.
    8. Entrants should not include their name on the image itself. EXIF data should be kept intact (e.g., camera, lens, exposure, etc).
    9. For split (half-and-half) images submitted to the “Over-Under” category, more than 30% of the image must be underwater.
    1. Entering the “Reels Showcase” category requires you to share your Reel using a public Instagram account.
    2. At least 50% of the Reel must consist of underwater video clips. Entrants should not include their name in the Reel.
    3. You are encouraged to be as creative as possible and use text, filters and audio to create a fun and entertaining multi-clip Reel.
    4. Submission is a simple four-stage process:
      1. Create your Instagram Reel and share it with us by following these steps:
        1. Invite us as a collaborator
          1. Tap Tag people
          2. Tap Invite collaborator
          3. Search for underwaterawards and tap the account
          4. Tap Done
        2. Add tags to the caption
          1. @underwaterawards
          2. #UnderwaterAwards
          3. #UnderwaterAwardsReels
          4. #UnderwaterAwardsAustralasia
        3. Tap Share
      2. Copy the URL of your Reel to the clipboard by navigating to the Reel, hitting the three-dot menu (or arrow share button on some devices), and tapping Copy link.
      3. Log in to your account on, hit the Submit Your Videos tab, enter basic information about your Reel, including the URL that you just copied, and pay for your entry.
      4. Complete your submission by hitting the My Entries tab, clicking on the entry form link at the bottom of the page, and emailing a PDF version of the form to
    5. Only paid entries with corresponding URLs of shared Reels will be considered eligible submissions.
    6. Deleting your Reel will remove your entry from consideration.
    1. Any entry found not to comply with the Rules & Guidelines at any stage of the Competition may be disqualified. No refunds or allowances will be made in the event of disqualification and any prizes will be forfeited. The decision of the Owners on all matters relating to the Competition is final and binding. No negotiation will be considered. The Owners reserve the right to amend the Rules & Guidelines and to waive breach of the Rules & Guidelines at their sole discretion, acting reasonably.
    2. The Jury may request the original camera-captured RAW file at any time to aid in upholding the Competition’s Rules & Guidelines, aims, and values.
    3. During judging, and with the express agreement of the Owners, the Jury reserves the right to:
      1. move entries from one category to another where applicable and appropriate;
      2. not award any entry within a category;
      3. remove a category in its entirety.
    4. The Jury’s decisions are final.
    5. Successful entrants will be notified in strict confidence. It is a condition of entry that the entrant does not disclose the details of any shortlisted or winning entries to any third party prior to the public announcement of the competition results.
    6. Prizes are non-transferable or exchangeable for cash. Prizes must be claimed within one year of the awards announcements (or within a mutually agreed period) unless otherwise specified or the prize will be forfeited. Travel prizes are to be redeemed subject to availability and must be booked and completed in a time frame suitable for both recipient and vendor.
    1. All entrants agree that, if their entry is selected by the Jury, they will participate in related publicity and agree to the use of their name and likeness for the purposes of advertising, promotion, and publicity of this and future variants of the Competition and/or the Exhibition without additional compensation.
    1. Each entry must be the original work of the entrant and must not infringe the rights of any other party.
    2. The entrant must either be the sole owner of the copyright in the entry submitted or have secured the written permission of the copyright owner or any joint owners of the copyright to submit the entry into the Competition. A copy of any such written permission must be supplied to the Owners on request.
    3. In the event that an entrant is not the sole copyright owner of the entry, the entrant agrees to notify the Owners at the date of submission, providing the names of the copyright owner or any joint owners of the copyright.
    4. Ownership of the copyright in any entry submitted to the Competition will remain with the copyright holder(s). The holder(s) will be credited wherever an entry is reproduced, published, exhibited, and/or communicated to the public. In the event of inadvertent omission of the credit, the holder(s) agree(s) that the Owners will not be liable to the holder(s).
    5. By entering the Competition, the entrant grants to the Owners a non-exclusive, irrevocable licence to reproduce, publish, exhibit, and communicate to the public, by any means, and in all media throughout the world. This licence is granted for use in relation to current and future Competition(s), Exhibition(s), and Touring Exhibition(s), which shall include (with the right to sublicence where necessary)—but will not be limited to—any of the following uses:
      1. the process of judging the Competition (including any public vote);
      2. display during the awards ceremony, Exhibition, and/or Touring Exhibition (prints of entries made for an Exhibition will be kept as a collection for possible exhibitions at other venues);
      3. publication in magazines, e-magazines, media websites or print media which the Owners (or their official partners, supporters, or sponsors) may endorse;
      4. publication on relevant parts of the Owners’ websites, including within interactive elements available for viewing or download;
      5. publicity materials, including social media (awarded submissions may be used by the Owners for the purposes of promoting the Competition, Exhibition, and/or Touring Exhibition from the date of notification of awarded submissions until the end of the Exhibition and/or Touring Exhibition, and thereafter the Owners may keep the awarded submissions within an archive);
      6. publication in an awards book, featuring a selection of shortlisted and winning entries.
    1. Proof of electronic submission is not proof of receipt by the Owners.
    2. The Owners cannot be held responsible for emails that do not arrive due to an entrant’s email security settings or restrictions placed by their Internet Service Provider. Entrants must ensure that their settings accept emails from the Owners.
    3. The Owners cannot be held liable for any loss of or damage to any entry submitted into the Competition howsoever caused or for any other loss or damage as a result.
    4. The Owners cannot be held liable for the misuse of images and/or failure of any third party to comply with the Competition’s credit guidelines.
    5. Non-awarded digital entries submitted into the Competition will not be stored or returned by the Owners after the names of awardees are announced.
    6. The Owners cannot be held liable for any loss or damage suffered by any entrant in relation to the Competition or the use of any prize.
    1. The personal data of entrants will be managed by the Owners in accordance with data protection legislation.
    2. The Owners will collect personal data about entrants (and the entrant’s parent/guardian where applicable) at the time of registration, and as otherwise provided in order to administer the Competition and/or all associated activities.
    3. By entering the Competition you are agreeing to be contacted by the Owners as well as the Competition’s sponsors and partners. All parties will honour any requests to no longer be contacted.
    4. Entrants may contact the Owners at any time to update their details and/or preferences regarding the permitted use of their personal data.
    1. The Owners cannot be held responsible if, owing to force majeure or any other cause outside their control, changes are made to dates or even if the Competition is altered or cancelled. Should you have any complaints or compliments please contact