/ Intramurals

Inner Tube Water Polo Rules

Minimum players in pool and/or on roster: 5
Maximum players on roster: 15
Maximum players in pool: 6

The game shall be played between two teams of six players, three men and three women. Five players are required to avoid a forfeit, and there must be two players of one gender and three of the other in the pool (may differ if agreed upon by captains). The goalie, whether you have five or six players, may be male or female.

Playing area

Gameplay will take place within the far rectangle outlined by the pool. Players can move about freely within the designated rectangle. When shooting, a player cannot come within five feet of the goal. 


There are six positions, including goalkeeper:

  • Right and left forwards
  • Right and left backs
  • One center
  • Goalkeeper


  • Tubes: Tubes are all the same size
    • 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 at all times
  • Goals: Pugg brand goals are used
  • Long hair: A participant with long hair (shoulder length) must pull their hair back into a ponytail, or wear a swim cap

Game Time

Games consist of two 20-minute periods. Teams change ends at the end of each period.

  • Overtime: If the score is tied at the end of regulation play, one sudden death 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.
  • Running clock: The clock will run continuously except during timeouts, after goals and for injuries. There will be a five-minute intermission between periods.
  • Timeouts: Each team will have two timeouts 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.
  • Substitutions: Substitutions must be made during timeouts, after a goal is scored or between periods.

Game 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 goal, the ball is put in play by the official by returning it to the goalie just scored upon.

  • 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. The player nearest to where the ball goes out of bounds takes the throw-in.
  • Behind the goal: Ball/shot that goes behind the goal will result in a "goal kick" for the goalie of the defending team. If the shot is deflected by the defense or the goalie, the ball will be reset at the two-meter line.



Infractions are 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. Infractions are issued when:

  • A player holds onto the pool wall while in possession of the ball (applies to the goalkeeper as well)
  • A player holds the ball under water
  • Goalkeeper throws the ball across the center line
  • Goalkeeper holding onto the wall of the pool while catching or passing the ball
  • Goalkeeper does not remain seated in the inner tube while attempting to deflect a try for goal
  • An offensive player is within the goal area as defined earlier
  • An offensive player fails to release the ball in five seconds (stalling)


Personal fouls are 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. Personal fouls are issued when a player: 

  • Holds, punches, hits, kicks or dumps an opponent not holding the ball
  • Tips an opponent out of his/her tube immediately after scoring in an attempt to discount the score


A player must sit on the side of the pool deck and their team is short a player for one minute. The ball is put into play on the spot. One pass is not necessary before an attempted goal. A player is penalized when they:

  • Leave the seated position in the inner tube to touch or maneuver the ball
  • Touch, control or maneuver the ball if tipped out of the tube


A penalty throw is taken four yards out from the end of the pool, centered in front of the goal. All players except the goalkeeper must leave the penalty area until the penalty throw is taken. No player may be within one 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:

  • Offensive player fouled in the penalty area while controlling the ball
  • Offensive player being fouled anywhere, whether controlling the ball or not, when the opponent has been called in excess of seven team fouls per half


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 player to touch the ball shall be credited with the score.


  • Damage to glasses or contacts and all costs incurred because of injury in IM competition are the responsibility of the participant.
  • Players and spectators are expected to enter through the locker room.


All protests must be made in writing and presented to the Dow office according to IM protest rules in the IM Handbook.


All teams are expected to follow the participation rules in the IM Handbook, which means that the team must be dressed and ready to play (lineup properly recorded) at game time.


IM sportsmanship rules outlined in the IM Handbook will be strictly enforced. Rosters will be checked regularly. Unsportsmanlike 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 using the roster addition form. Email intramurals@hope.edu with questions.