Ocean Awareness Contest

2020 THEME

Climate Hope:
Transforming Crisis

Artwork by Gwenan W.
Your voices, visions, and stories of hope are needed to help transform the world.

The health of the ocean impacts us all, no matter where in the world we live. Activated by Bow Seat programming, a growing wave of passionate and talented young people are using their creative voices to inspire awareness, hope, and action for our blue planet. Join us!


The annual Ocean Awareness Contest is a platform for young people to learn about ocean issues through art-making and creative communication, and to explore their relationship to a changing world and become advocates for positive change. Students ages 11-18 from around the world are invited to participate.

Open for submissions in September 2019.

Submissions are accepted in:

  • Visual Art
  • Film
  • Music
  • Poetry
  • Prose
  • *NEW* Interactive & Multimedia
View Past Contests
Why participate?
  • Gain knowledge about a critical issue facing your generation: learn and understand more about climate change and our oceans by using Bow Seat’s Resource Studio
  • Build your portfolio and make art in your preferred medium, or practice a new one! Add to your resume with a global participation certificate
  • Develop 21st Century skills in communication, critical thinking, creativity, and advocacy
  • Join Bow Seat’s global community of 10,000+ young people that care about our ocean and climate action, and be represented in an international digital activation experience
  • Earn cash awards and scholarships of up to $1,500

Connect. Create. Communicate.

Through art exhibitions, publications, and scholarships, Bow Seat uplifts diverse youth voices to advance dialogue and participation in ocean conservation. We empower young thinkers and creators to be active and ocean-conscious global citizens, starting in their local communities and watersheds.
Student Art Gallery

“I feel that I have contributed to the fight to save our oceans by participating in the Ocean Awareness Contest. I feel more connected to the cause and to people who also care about the issue of climate change.”

Ocean Awareness Contest FAQs

Who can submit to the Ocean Awareness Contest?

Any student age 11-18 who is/was enrolled in middle or high school while the Contest is open. For example, if you are in 12th grade in September 2019 and graduate high school in May/June 2020, then you would be eligible for the 2020 Ocean Awareness Contest.

I don't live in the U.S. Can I still enter the Ocean Awareness Contest?

Yes! This is an international Contest and open to teenagers age 11-18 worldwide.

Can I submit with a friend?

Yes! Students can submit as individuals or with a group of friends, or as a class or club of any size.

I’m a teacher and want to bring the Ocean Awareness Contest into my classroom. How do I get started?

Teachers in every discipline are invited to bring the Ocean Awareness Contest into their classrooms. Sign up to receive regular updates about the Contest and get access to educator resources.

What are the awards?

Awards will be given in each of the categories at both the Junior and Senior divisions:

Junior Division
Senior Division
Gold Award
Silver Award
Bronze Award
Honorable Mention
Who are the Ocean Awareness Contest judges?

Bow Seat Judges are artists, writers, teachers, scientists, and of course, ocean-lovers! Meet the crew >

How can my organization become an Ocean Awareness Contest partner or supporter?

Your organization can support our vision of elevating the next generation of creative ocean leaders by sharing the Ocean Awareness Contest with your network, publishing student work or hosting a student art exhibition, or sponsoring an award.

Contact us for more information about media, education, community, or exhibition partnerships.