We consider the use of visual target tracking for autonomous steering of an underwater robot. In this context, we consider a performance comparison for three key visual tracking algorithms used for servo control. We present a comparative study of the performance in underwater environments of three tracking algorithms that are widely used in vision applications. Variations in illumination, suspended particles and a resulting reduction in visibility hinders vision systems from performing satisfactorily in marine environments; at least not as well as they do in terrestrial (i.e. non-underwater) surroundings. Our work focuses on quantitatively measuring the performance of three color-based tracking algorithms- color blob tracker, color histogram tracker and mean-shift tracker, in tracking objects underwater in different levels lighting and visibility. We also present results demonstrating the effect of suspended particles underwater, and in conclusion we summarize the three tracking algorithms by comparing their pros and cons.