Great White sharks, wrecked planes and huge clouds of fish: Photographers take the plunge to capture beautiful images of life underwaterThousands of entries from more than a hundred countries submitted to underwaterphotography.com's competion.
By Jaymi Mccann
PUBLISHED: 08:05 GMT, 1 June 2013 | UPDATED: 08:27 GMT, 1 June 2013
A Great White shark, a curious seal are some of the subjects that won prizes in the world's biggest photography competition.
The annual event covers 15 categories from wrecks to sharks and divers, with the UK's Nick Blake being made a Grand Master after picking up five awards.
Nick Blake won the title of Grand Master as he managed to get five awards in one competition
Another of Christian Vizl's stunning freshwater photographs taken off the coast of Mexico
These included a gold medal for a wonderful shot of a grey seal off Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel.
He explained: 'As he clambered over the top of my head, I turned the camera to shoot at myself, capturing an image of the cheeky chap at the same time.'
Mr Blake also picked up a silver for his atmospheric shot of Boo Windows, a natural phenomenon in Misool, Indonesia, and three runner up prizes, including one of a sunken jet plane at Capernwray Quay, Lancashire.
British snapper Leena Roy also got a gold medal for a spooky natural light shot of the ladder on the US submarine rescue vessel Kittiwake in Grand Cayman. The UK's Elaine White got a silver for her image of the vessel's stern.
Overall winner was Christian Vizl who became the first photographer to win gold, silver and bronze in a single category for his collection of stunning photographs
British photographer Nick Blake won gold for his amazing shot of a curious seal
American Jeri Curley won a bronze medal for her close focused and wide angled photograph
The optical illusion of a 'strong beauty' holding up a rock won a gold medal for Slovakian photographer Martin Ferak while the US's Greg Zagaglia took silver for a close up of a Great White's teeth. Both pictures were captured off the coast of Mexico.
Other winners included male elephant seals fighting for dominance on the Pacific coast, lillies under palm trees in Guam and the Laguna Beach shallows in the Pacific.
Website spokesman Benny Sutton said: 'UK photographer Nick Blake becomes a Grand Master by building on his success in previous years with five placings including a Gold in temperate waters category and a silver in the "wide angle close focus".
'The latter was a tropical waters shot but we know Nick best for his temperate waters work shot whilst diving around the UK. His usual environment is therefore a difficult one to work in, yet he always delivers the goods
Leena Roy's creepy photograph of a ladder inside a US submarine rescue vessel Kittiwake in Grand Cayman
Christian Vizl submitted this unique photograph to the competition
But overall winner was Mexico's Christian Vizl who became the first photographer to win gold, silver and bronze in a single category for his collection of stunning freshwater photographs.
Mr Sutton said: 'This year's World Champion and breakout star is without doubt Mexican underwater photographer Christian Vizl who has demonstrated consistently high quality over such a relatively short period of time.
'He is the only underwater photographer in our history to take Gold, Silver and Bronze in one year.
'He did this with three very different model shots that he entered in the Freshwater category.
'These shots were so good they would have got medals in the Divers or Wide Angle categories. For good measure he also won a gold medal in the sharks category and a bronze in the Wide angle category.
Kip Nead won a silver medal for his striking above water action shot
Another of Christian Vizl's award winning photographs, this time featuring a shark in his natural habitat
'He has demonstrated such a wide range of skills and mastery of a broad spectrum of subjects he stood out head and shoulders.
'Christian describes himself as a photographer and artist, which is confirmed by his strong graphic sense exhibited in his entries.'
Mr Sutton added: 'The UnderwaterPhotography.com photo contest is the longest running and most prestigious online, or off. If you want to make a name for yourself it is the place to do it.
'One of our medals is the reward for all the hard work underwater photographers put in chasing those great shots in far flung destinations.
'It is the industry's most coveted prize because it says you succeeded in the most competitive environment there is, against the top talent of the moment.