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Coed Inner Tube Water Polo Rules

Maximum players: 6
Minimum players: 5


A. GAME: The game shall be played between two teams of six players, three men and three women. Five players are required to avoid a forfeit, no less than 2 females or 2 males on a team and one of the males must play keeper.

B. GOALS: Ten feet wide and three feet above the water surface.

C. GOAL AREA: A line (11 yards long) across the front of the goal (2 yards out & parallel to the end of the pool) and 2 side lines to the end of the pool (2 yards out & parallel to the sides of the pool).

D. PENALTY AREA: A line (5 yards long) across the front of the goal (4 yards out & parallel to the end of the pool) and 2 side lines to the end of the pool (5 yards out & parallel to the sides of the pool).

E. POSITIONS: Right and left forwards. Right and left backs. One center and a goalkeeper.

F. GOALKEEPER POSITION: May not throw the ball across the center line.

G. TUBE POSITION: At all times you must sit in the tube with your legs and feet over one side and your shoulders, back and head over the other side of the tube.

H. EQUIPMENT: The tubes are all the same size with a colored stripe to represent the team, either orange or blue.

I. CAPS: A swimming cap must be worn by any player whose hair touches their shoulders when it is dry.


A. PERIODS: A game shall consist of two twelve minute periods. Teams change ends at the end of each period.

B. OVERTIME: If the score is tied at the end of regulation play, one suddendeath overtime period of three minutes is played during
which time the team that scores first shall be the winner. If the game is still tied, then the score will stand.

C. TIME FACTORS: The clock will run continuously except during timeouts, after scores, and for injuries. There will be a five-minute intermission between periods.

D. TIMEOUTS: Each team will have two per game plus one additional per overtime. A timeout is one minute in duration. Timeouts not used during regulation do not carry over into the overtime period.

E. SUBSTITUTIONS: Must be made during timeouts, after a goal is scored, or between periods.


A. METHOD OF PLAY: Each team lines up at opposite ends of the pool at the start of play. Play starts when the official throws the ball into the center of the playing area and both teams propel their inner tubes toward the ball. After each score, the ball is put in play by the official by returning it to the goalie just
scored upon.

B. OUT OF BOUNDS: A free (non guarded) throw-in from the same spot the ball went out of bounds is awarded to the opposing team. he player nearest to where the ball goes out of bounds takes the throw-in.


A. INFRACTIONS: Penalized by the loss of possession of the ball to opponent by a free (non guarded) throw-in on the spot. One pass must be made before any attempted goal for:
1) Holding onto the pool wall while in possession of the ball. Rule also applies to the goalkeeper.
2) Holding the ball under water.
3) Goalkeeper throwing the ball across the center line.
4) Goalkeeper holding onto the wall of the pool while catching or passing the ball.
5) Goalkeeper not remaining seated in the inner tube while attempting to deflect a try for goal.
6) Offensive player within the goal area as defined earlier.
7) Offensive player failing to release the ball in five seconds (stalling).

B. PERSONAL FOULS: Penalized by losing possession of the ball to the other team, which receives a free (non guarded) throw on the spot. One pass must be made before an attempted goal for:
1) Holding, punching, hitting, kicking or dumping an opponent not holding the ball.
2) Tipping an opponent out of his/her tube immediately after scoring in an attempt to discount the score.

C. PENALTY BOX: A player must sit on the side of the pool deck and the team play short a player for one minute. The ball is put into play on the spot. One pass is not necessary before an attempted goal for:
1) Leaving the seated position in the inner tube to touch or maneuver the ball.
2) If tipped out of the tube, a player may not touch or control the ball, or maneuver the ball.

D. PENALTY THROW: Taken 4 yards out from the end of the pool, centered in front of the goal. All players except the goalkeeper must leave the enalty area until the penalty throw is taken. No player may be within 1 yard of the thrower. Should the penalty throw be missed, the ball is a free ball and continues in play. The following situations result in the opposing team awarded a penalty throw:
1) Offensive player fouled in the penalty area while controlling the ball.
2) Offensive player being fouled anywhere whether controlling the ball or not when the opponent has been called in excess of 7 team fouls per half.


A. GOAL: A goal is scored when the entire ball has passed over the goal line between the goalpost and under the cross-bar. The last offensive person to touch the ball shall be credited with the score.
B. POINT VALUE: Goals made by males count one point and goals made by females count two points.

6. PLAYER RESPONSIBILITY: Damage to glasses, contacts, and all costs incurred because of injury in IM competition are the respons-ibility of the participant.

7. PROTESTS: All protests must be made in writing and resented to the Dow office according to IM Protest Rules #38-41 in the IM Handbook, pages 12-13.

8. PARTICIPATION RULES: All teams are expected to follow IM Rules #25-30 which means that the team must be dressed and ready to play (lineup properly recorded) at game time.

9. SPORTSMANSHIP RULES: Im Rule #36 will be strictly enforced. Rosters will be checked regularly. Unsprotsmanlide action will NOT be tolerated!

  • One NO SHOW will put your team on probation.
  • Once on probation, either one additional NO SHOW or one forfeit will remove your team from competition.
  • There will be NO RESCHEDULING of contests due to the lack of pool time, the hiring of the life guard, the hiring of two refs and a scorekeeper to run this sport.
  • Additional players may be added UP TO game time on the day of your scheduled event. Sign up online and email to, or forms are in the Dow Center Main office.