On September 5, 2015, scores of diver-photographers took to the seas and inland waters of the British Isles to capture scenes of underwater life.

Their mission - set by the British and Irish Underwater Photography Championship - was to take the most eye-catching pictures possible in 24 hours.

The winning photos, which can be seen below, included shots of everything from lobsters to sea wrecks and shark eggs to Scottish sea anemones - with the latter being captured by the overall champion, Midlander Charles Erb.  Best newcomer went to Marco Salino for his shot of an Irish blenny - a type of fish.

“The winners have done extremely well to achieve these images, which have to be taken in a very limited time and with strict limits on the amount of processing that the photographers can use,” expalined competition organiser and professional photographer Paul Colley.

“The variety and colour of marine life in the UK and Ireland often surprises people. Most of us are used to seeing tropical fish on our TV screens, but there is so much to see on our doorstep.

“The judges were very impressed with the result.”

Three renowned underwater photographers judged the competition, run by the British Society of Underwater Photographers, and prizes included a trip to Egypt’s Red Sea for the winner and prizes totalling £4,000 for the runners-up.

The competition aims to increase participation in underwater photography and to expand it to the whole of UK and Ireland. 

“It has been fantastic to have our Irish underwater photography colleagues on board for the first time,” said Paul.“They have added a strong sense of competitiveness, but also some fun, really entering into the spirit of what this competition was about.

“The word that all photographers like to hear is 'wow' and this has certainly happened with these images.”

You can check out the winning shots below. See more wonderful photos and find out more about the British Society of Underwater Photographers at www.bsoup.org.

Photo credits: Media Drum World