Explore the oceans with Google Street View

Take a virtual holiday from the comfort of your desk chair

Strap on your snorkel folks, we're going under! To celebrate World Oceans Day on June 8, Google has released a series of new underwater Street View maps featuring 40 of the most stunning underwater locations on the planet. So without further ado, let the exploring begin.

Google has teamed up with Catlin Seaview Survey to capture a collection of stunning images beneath the waves, featuring beautiful locations such as the Gear Barrier Reef, American Samoa, Bali, the Bahamas and the Chagos Islands.

From the comfort of your desk chair, gawk at beautiful 360-degree shots of ocean wildlife, including sea turtles and humpback whales, shipwrecks, and even step into a shark cage.

Google didn't just do it so we could dream to wanderlust, though. The search giant wants to document the state of the world's oceans and highlight how they will change over the years.

“Covering more than 70 percent of the Earth's surface, the ocean remains one of the most uncharted and undiscovered ecosystems on the planet,” Jenifer Austin from the Google Ocean Program said in a blog post.

“Home to the majority of life on Earth, the ocean acts as its life support system, controlling everything from our weather and rainfall to the oxygen we breathe. Yet despite the ocean's vital importance, the ocean is changing at a rapid rate due to climate change, pollution, and overfishing, making it one of the most serious environmental issues we face today.”

She added: “Mapping the ocean is key to preserving it. Each image in Google Maps is a GPS-located digital record of these underwater and coastal environments, which can be used as a baseline to monitor change over time.

The project is in aid of World Oceans Day, which falls on June 8, to raise awareness about the state of our oceans. You can view the underwater imagery now on Google Maps.