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10th Annual Get Into Your Sanctuary Celebration:
Your Adventure Starts Here!
Saturday, July 29th, 2023

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is one of the most biodiverse areas in our world’s ocean. Birds, whales, sea otters, and harbor seals call the sanctuary home. Some of the best ways to experience the sanctuary are through the many on-the-water recreational activities like kayaking, surfing, scuba diving, sailing, and fishing. Always practice responsible wildlife viewing and be sure to take the wildlife pledge!

get in your sanctuary logo

Join us for these special events!



It’s no secret that countless animals inhabit Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, making it one of the most biodiverse areas of the world. Did you know that there are at least 525 identified fish species? There are several ways to experience fish, such as snorkeling, recreational fishing, or eating your local sustainably caught seafood.

For this year’s Get Into Your Sanctuary (GIYS), Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s Coastal Discovery Center (San Simeon) and Sanctuary Exploration Center (Santa Cruz) will celebrate fish diversity through Fish Fest! You can try your hand at recreational fishing from nearby piers in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Join local organizations who will be on hand to tell sanctuary fish ‘tales,’ provide a variety of activities for your family, and share tips on sustainable fishing.

When: Saturday, July 29th, 2023
Where: Coastal Discovery Center (San Simeon, CA) 11am – 3pm
Sanctuary Exploration Center (Santa Cruz, CA) 10am – 3pm
image of CDC Fish Fest flyer
Flyer for Coastal Discovery Center Fish Fest!
(461K PDF)
image of CDC Fish Fest flyer
Flyer for Sanctuary Exploration Center Fish Fest!
(461K PDF)

image of a surfer contemplating the swell at Lighthouse Point in MBNMSPhoto credits left to right: Jon Anderson, Meg McWhinney, Nathan Coy

... but wait, there's more!



Coastal Discovery Center activities:
Join us for guided fishing from the San Simeon Pier with the Cambria Fishing Club, fishing-themed scavenger hunt, live exhibit featuring rainbow trout juveniles, live plankton viewing, and free Salmonscape poster giveaway.

Sanctuary Exploration Center activities:
Join us to learn from different organizations how to filet a fish, how to age a fish, and why some salmon populations are critically endangered in California. Experience free guided fishing from the nearby Santa Cruz Wharf, fish printing (Gyotaku), free Salmonscape poster giveaway, and enjoy singing scientist Peter Weiss and salmon films!


get in your sanctuary photo contest header image

Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest

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

In celebration of national Get Into Your Sanctuary events, NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is hosting a photo contest. From Memorial Day weekend (May 26th) through Labor Day weekend (September 4th), 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 announced in October 2023 as we celebrate the National Marine Sanctuary System's 50th anniversary, as well as featured in next year's Earth Is Blue Magazine and on the Earth Is Blue social media campaign. Please click on the year to view the winners of the 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 contests.

Remember to practice good ocean etiquette when taking your photos!

Photo Categories

Photos will be accepted from May 26th to September 4th 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 Recreation: Enter your best images of people responsibly enjoying national marine sanctuaries, whether they’re boating, kayaking, diving, swimming, conducting research, or just hanging out on the beach.
  • Sanctuaries at Home: Show us how you’re connecting to your National Marine Sanctuary System from home! Submissions to this category must follow the guidance of Sanctuary Recreation, Sanctuary Life, and Sanctuary Views, but can also include photos of stewardship activities from your home or neighborhood, or sanctuary-related artwork (paintings, drawings, etc.).
  • Sanctuaries Around the World: Ocean connection can happen anywhere, not just in the National Marine Sanctuary System. Following the guidance of Sanctuary Recreation, Sanctuary Life, and Sanctuary Views, show us where you connect to the ocean by submitting your photos, from anywhere in the world, to the “Sanctuaries Around the World” category of our photo contest. Submissions to this category can include photos taken in the United States, but outside of a national marine sanctuary, as well as photos taken outside of the United States. We recommend that these images consist of photos taken in the wild of marine life or bodies of water close to you. Submissions of photos from zoos, aquariums, or other indoor establishments are not encouraged.

How to Enter

Submit your images (minimum of 1200 pixels wide, no more than 10) to us through this form. 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. Please include the species names of animals if known.. If you would like us to tag you on Instagram if we share your photo there, please include your Instagram handle as well.

Remember to practice responsible recreation when taking your photos. When photographing marine mammals and other protected species, always follow wildlife viewing guidelines to ensure that you are not disturbing these animals. Help us highlight wildlife photography best practices by indicating 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. By submitting a photo, you agree to all rules of the Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest.
  2. Photographers must be at least 13 years of age or older as of the first day of the contest (May 26th, 2023).
  3. 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).
  4. 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. Organizations other than NOAA and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation may use photographs submitted in this contest to promote sustainable and responsible recreation in the National Marine Sanctuary System. These photos are not for sale and are not for commercial use unless prior permission is arranged
  5. 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!
  6. Follow all social distancing guidelines laid out by the CDC and your state and local guidance
  7. Photos that are submitted without information on the photographer and a brief caption will not be considered.
  8. No watermarks on submitted photos.
  9. Photos should be a minimum of 1200 pixels wide (but the bigger, the better!).
  10. Please limit the total number of your photo submissions to 10 entries.
  11. Only one form per person needs to be submitted for all entries. If you cannot submit via the form, send all information and photos to

Help Us Spread the Word!

Tell your friends about the contest on social media, and download the printable factsheet. Please use #ILoveMySanctuary and #RecreateResponsibly


Send them to!

Reviewed: September 08, 2023
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

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