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Competition rules

The full competition rules. These are regularly reviewed and may have changed since last year's competition.

Competition rules


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Points Make Prizes

The competition is open to all photographers: professionals and amateurs. A single photographer can win all the categories they enter. A single photographer, can theoretically win all the special awards, if they eligible for them all. 

Each photographer will receive points for each photo that places in the top 10 position in a category, with the exceptions of positions where fixed prizes are offered and categories that are free to enter (more details below). We judge all images into an ordered top 10, although the results are reported as Winner, Runner Up, Third Place, Highly Commended (x4) & Commended (x3).

In categories have fixed prizes and paid entry, points are given for the placings that do not have a fixed prize. There is no limit to how many fixed prizes a photographer can win.

The overall Underwater Photographer of the Year is awarded a nominal 1000 points, ensuring this photographer always has first choice of the prize pool, in addition to any fixed prizes won.

Thereafter the photographer with the most points (in total across all categories) will get the next choice of prize from our sponsors, then the photographer with the next highest points total will get next choice, and so on until the prize fund is exhausted. This system has two advantages, first winners get to choose their prizes, so end up with prizes they really need. And second more individuals will take home prizes from the festival.

The 6 main international categories (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) will award points for the top 10 places as follows: 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1. However, Category 1 has fixed prizes for the podium, and points are not awarded where fixed prizes are given. In Category 1 there are no points for places 1, 2 and 3, while 4th to 10th will score 12-10-8-6-4-2-1.

The other categories (excluding 11 UK Waters Living Together and Marine Conservation) will award less points as these categories typically attract fewer entrants and places are often dominated by a relatively small number of photographers. Points will be as follows: 13-11-9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, except where there are fixed podium prizes and 4th to 10th in the category will score 7-6-5-4-3-2-1.