Inner-Tube Water Polo Regulations


The Intramural sport convener may modify these rules at their discretion. The Intramural sport convener and officials have the discretion to rule on any matter not covered by these rules.

Click here for Intramurals eligibility rules.

**Verification of Swimming Competency** 

• Inner-tube waterpolo takes place in deep water therefore it is expected that all participants know how to swim and are comfortable in deep water. Participants should be able to perform a head first entry (roll or dive) into the pool, tread water for 1 minute, and swim 50 metres comfortably.

• The equipment (inner tubes) used during the games are not considered to be lifesaving devices and cannot be relied upon to assist with a non-swimmer.
• It is the responsibility of the captain of each team to relay the swimming ability requirement to all team members and in the event of a weak/non-swimmer on their team PFDs will be available for use during games. It is expected that any participant who cannot complete the swim standard either remain on deck, or wear a lifejacket at all times.
• The Head Guard on duty at their discretion can request a team member or entire team at any time to quickly perform the swim test to verify swimming ability. In the event that a participant is unable to complete the swim test they will be asked to remain on deck or wear a PFD. The name(s) of the participants will be relayed to the Intramural Program Coordinator via the Intramural sport convener.

Number of Players

• A maximum of Seven (7) players are allowed in the water at any time – 1 Goalie (of either gender) and 6 players of which there must be 3 females and 3 males. Maximum roster size = 15 including goalie(s) and a minimum of 3 of each gender.
• A minimum of Six (6) players are needed to start a game (of which there must be at least 2 females and 2 males) and avoid a default.
• Example: If a team has 7 players where only two are female, they must play with 6. They CANNOT substitute a male for a female and play with 5 males and 2 females.
• A minimum of Five (5) players (1 goalie and 4 forwards) are needed to finish the contest if injuries and ejections occur.

The Game


I. Game: Matches consist of two 20 minute halves (as long as time permits) with a running clock with no overtime during the regular season. Teams will get a 10 min warm up and a 5 minutes break in between halves. Games will start exactly 10 minutes after scheduled time. Teams will default if they are not present and ready to go by ten after.
II. Scoring: A goal is worth one point. You must remain in your inner tube when attempting to score. Players are not permitted to score in the act of falling out of their tube. If a player scores in the process of falling out of their tube but not completely out of it, the goal will stand. The ball must be released from the shooter's hand before they land in the water in order for the goal to stand. After a whistle three complete passes must be made, touching at least one member of each sex, before a goal is scored. In the event of a turnover the opposing team is not required to complete 3 passes. No "behind the back" scoring attempts are accepted. This practice has resulted in injuries, and players should never shoot in a direction they are not facing. A first offence will result in a warning and change of possession to the defense, with subsequent offences resulting in two minute penalties, and for serious offences, ejection. If a goal is scored as a result of a "behind the back" throw, the goal will not be counted.
III. Start of Game:  Players must be seated horizontally in their tubes and facing the wall of their respective ends. They must listen for the officials signal to start play.
IV. Maneuvering the Ball: There is a Five (5) second limit for a player to have possession of the ball. This includes carrying the ball, floating beside it or influencing the ball with an inner tube.
• After a goal is scored, possession goes to the goalie with the 5 second limit still in effect.
• Players must be seated horizontally in their inner tube to touch/maneuver the ball and/or influence play.
• If a player falls out of their inner tube when they have possession of the ball, they must release the ball immediately and not influence it in any way.
• Players may not kick or attempt to kick the ball.
V. Contact with Other Players: Players are to have NO bodily contact with each other. Penalties will result in all of the following cases: (Note: this list is not exhaustive).
• Holding, riding, hitting, or jumping on another player or their inner tube.
• Pushing off from an opposing player’s inner tube with any part of the body.
• Tipping another player.
• A player from the defending team makes contact with the individual in possession of the ball. In this case, the defender will be penalized.
• Two players from opposing teams make contact when neither of them have possession of the ball. Both players will be penalized and each team will be allowed to substitute a player from the ‘bench’ to replace their penalized player for the duration of the penalty;
• The individual with possession of the ball intentionally makes contact with a defending player (official’s judgment). That individual’s team will lose possession of the ball and the player will receive a penalty.
• In the case where contact is made when two players are racing in attempt to gain possession of the ball, the player who takes a controlled possession first keeps the ball, while the other player (defender) has five-seconds to move away so contact does not occur. Failure of the defending player to move away in time will result in a penalty.
VI. Penalty: Penalties for minor infractions will be two minutes in length, where the player will get out of the pool. Upon the third minor penalty the player will be ejected from the game. Penalties for major infractions will be immediate ejection from the game and could incur a suspension pending review. There will be no tolerance of brutality – to attack, strike or kick an opponent or make movements with that intent. Deliberately throwing a ball at an opponent constitutes such an attack.
• While grasping for a ball in an opponent’s hand, a player may not make physical contact with any part of their opponent. The offence will result in a penalty.
• No player may push off the side of the pool except at the start of each half. If committed, the opposing team will receive possession of the ball.
• Penalties for unsportsmanlike behaviour will be given as necassary. Unsportsmanlike behaviour INCLUDES splashing water in the face of an opponent.
• Only goalkeepers are allowed in the crease. If a player is found in their opposing team’s crease the ball will automatically change possession.
• If a scoring opportunity is taken away due to an opposing team’s actions (e.g. any physical contact, defending players in their goalie’s crease, goalie pushing off the back wall) a penalty shot will be given to the player affected.
VII. Team Fouls: For every seven team fouls, 1 bonus shot will be awarded to the opposition.
• Bonus shots will occur at the end of the half.
• If a team has less than seven team fouls at half time, the number of fouls already attained will carry over to the second-half.
VIII. Substitution: Players may substitute at any time, but must be done in the team’s defensive end. (For Goalkeeper substitution please see the Goalkeeper section below).
IX. Time Outs: Each team will be allowed one per half. Timeouts will not exceed 30 seconds and will not be allowed for the last 2 minutes of the half.
X. Goalkeeper: Goalkeeping duties can be performed by males or females. A goalkeeper may switch throughout the half under certain conditions: the team performing the switch informs the official, the switch occurs during a routine stoppage in play, and that no switches be allowed within the last five minutes of each half.
• Goalkeepers have the option of using an inner tube. A goalkeeper deciding not to use an inner tube may not use one to hold onto for support.
• A Goalkeeper may not hang onto the back wall or nets. They may not push off the back wall in order to make a save. The first offence (and there on) will result in a penalty shot.
• Goalkeepers are not permitted to throw the ball over half. The offence will result in a change of possession.
• Goalkeepers are not permitted to influence or touch a ball that is out of their crease.


• Inner tubes and caps will be provided. Please be sure to wear APPROPRIATE swimwear. Gym shorts/t-shirts are allowed to be worn over swimsuits.


• Regular Season – There is no overtime for regular season. Games may end in a tie.
• Playoffs – In the event of a tie during playoffs, games will proceed into a 3 minute running time overtime period. In the event that the game is still a tie after the overtime period, the teams will proceed into a shootout. They will pick 4 players – 2 males and 2 females. If the game is still at a tie after the shootout, the teams will continue to pick one person (altering members between males and females) until the tie is broken. 


• Playoff formats will be determined by the Intramural sport convener.


Campus Recreation Intramural Sports at Western University holds sportsmanship as “Our Golden Rule of Sport”. Sportsmanship is a great tradition in sports and competition that means playing clean, handling both victory and defeat with grace, style, and dignity, respecting the judgment of referees and officials, and treating opponents with respect. Sportsmanship is a style and an attitude, and it can have a positive influence on everyone around you.

Playing Field Conditions

• Intramural staff has full authority to suspend/cancel games if they believe the playing conditions are unsafe.  Games will be rescheduled, if possible.
• In the event of a problem with lights or leakages, captains will be notified and games will be rescheduled, if possible.
• When in doubt, players should expect the game to be played and arrive at the indoor facility on time. If games get/are to be cancelled the sport convener will send out a message to those affected as soon as the decision to cancel has been made.

Game Reschedules

I. Cancelled Games (due to weather, space conflicts etc.) will be rescheduled whenever possible to ensure you get the Intramural experience you paid for, however facility availability is limited, and games may not always be able to be rescheduled.
II. Team Requests for a Reschedule - Unfortunately, once our schedules are released online we only make changes due to facility closure, etc.
III. If you need to reschedule a game, email your opponent to gain their permission to a possible rescheduling. Only if the opponent agrees to a change of game time can you email your Intramural sport convener at least 48 hours prior to the game with your request (and proof of opponent’s agreement). Requests will be accommodated when possible, but are not guaranteed. If you wish to swap game times with another game in your division, you must contact the captains of all teams involved in the game swap. The swap can only occur if all parties agree. This must be completed at least 48 hours prior to the originally scheduled game. Proof of all agreements must be sent to the Sport Convener before the game time swap can be executed.
IV. Forfeit the game: If you give at least 48 hours’ notice to your sport specific convener that your team won't be playing and that the game is a ‘forfeit’. You will lose the game, but not your Performance Bond.