2023 Photo Contest Winners

Susan Elnicki

Marinalife is pleased to announce the winners of our 2023 Photo Contest. This year’s three finalists and five runners-up come from a pool of 265 extraordinary photographs from around the globe. Most images are in color; some opted for black and white. All of them reflect a love of life on the water. They share common themes that celebrate the joy of family time together, unique land and sea creatures, adventurous journeys, beloved boats, the power of water, and nature’s unpredictable beauty. We extend our appreciation to all the participants who sent shots about their experiences beyond the shoreline, and we offer our congratulations to the talented photographers who placed in the winner and runner-up categories. Hats off to you all!


Credit Naing Tun Win

Photo By Naing Tun Win

A rare glimpse of the Salon people of Myanmar. Also known as Sea Gypsies or Men of the Sea, this indigenous group in the Myeik Islands does not live in a specific place. Instead, their nomadic culture fosters a hunter-gather lifestyle of roaming the water for food in traditional wooden boats called kabangs near islands in Kawthaung, Myanmar.

Photo by Michelle Fountaine

Credit Michelle Fountaine

When her husband lost his job during COVID, Michelle Fountaine packed up her family and set sail on their boat, Lemonade (named after the saying, “When life gives you lemons...”). They dropped anchor in the marina at Patmos Dodecanese, Greece, where a shepherd named Benatos herded his goats every day, to the delight of her young daughter and son. They soon discovered that Greek life is about slowing down, watching the goats go by and listening to the sound of their bells echo across the gentle slapping of the water against your hull. Turning lemons into lemonade taught them that life on the ocean is complete and a pure beauty that’s achievable by taking risks and making leaps of faith.

Credit Parker Denton

Photo by Parker Denton

The smile says it all. On an extremely hot day, Parker Denton and his friends were at Islamorada in the Florida Keys fishing for bonefish. The water was clear and calm, which made the fish spooky and a challenge to catch, even using fly rods with flies resembling small shrimp. Once known for growing to an impressive weight, a large bonefish is now rare, so any size of this species is exciting. They are called the “grey ghost of the flats,” because it’s difficult to see them in shallow water. Bonefish are also ranked among the top 10 fastest saltwater fish, so when you land one — big or small — there are smiles all around.

Photo Contest Runners-Up

Credit Deborah Gibson

The waters were rough the day that Blue Water Maui Boat Tours took Deborah Gibson and friends on a whale-watching excursion near Maui, Hawaii. The captain’s patience paid off when he finally found a group of male humpback whales competing for a female. Within a few feet of the boat, the amorous males put on a spectacular display, jumping out of the water and waving fins at the astonished charter boat passengers. Despite the rocky seas, Gibson managed to snap a few shots of an unforgettable aquatic courtship.

—Photo by Deborah Gibson

Credit Skip Miyamoto

The locals at Rudder Cut Cay in the Bahamas recommend that low tide is the best time to visit The Musician, a full-scale underwater sculpture of a mermaid and baby grand piano. Unfortunately Skip Miyamoto and his family arrived late in the day on their catamaran, Scooby. His daughter Finley loves mermaids and wanted a close view to verify if the mermaid was real or not, but the distance at high tide presented a challenge for a young swimmer. So, this dutiful dad strapped on his flippers and snorkel gear and became Finley’s underwater scooter that would safely escort her to the magical exhibit below. Ah, the things we do for love.

—Photo by Skip Miyamoto

Credit Patrick Stewart

This stunning shot shows the FV Cascade Mariner, a 108-foot tender operating for Silver Bay Seafoods during this year’s salmon season in Bristol Bay, Alaska.. A tender supports the fishermen, in this case gill netters, by taking fish from each boat and transporting the catch to a processing plant. It also supplies fuel, fresh water, refrigerated seawater and groceries while at sea. The season can last from 30 to 60 days, and fishermen are often at sea the entire time in all weather conditions without coming ashore. This dedication to the well-being of the fishermen gives new meaning to the words tender mercy.

—Photo by Patrick Stewart, an engineer who works for United States Seafoods aboard the tender FV Alaska Endeavor

Credit John Fallon

Captain Ryan Carson allowed photographer John Fallon to join his crew and shoot the action on Kara C when they headed 30 miles out of the Shark River Inlet off the coast of New Jersey to fish for tuna. For a while, John had been thinking about a tricky shot, and the captain agreed to let him give it a try. They attached the camera to a pole, hid down behind the transom, pushed the camera out above the water at just the right angle and started shooting. When the photo was downloaded, the result was a success. Lesson learned: Think outside the box and don’t be afraid to push the limits for a great photo.

—Photo by John Fallon

Credit Debbie Daigle

When a dolphin or other aquatic creature comes near his dinghy, Kirby becomes the happiest, most excited wheaten terrier in the world. But Debbie Daigle managed to capture a rare moment of a calm water, dog and husband John while standing on her 1976 Hatteras LRC, named AfterMath. The three have lived aboard the boat at Brunswick Landing Marina for the past four years, enjoying the busy social life and activities. Her photo was inspired by the superb, smooth water that day, and it acts a reminder to see the peace and beauty of the water, while taking time to appreciate the small things in life, like a simple reflection of loved ones.

—Photo by Debbie Daigle

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