Underwater Hockey Rules: Official Rules, Violations, & Scoring


Playing underwater hockey with friends in summer is fun and entertaining, however, if you are a newbie, you might find it hard to understand the game.

So, in this blog post, I have explained every step your need to understand the game properly. From the hames object to scoring; all you need is here.

Let’s break down underwater hockey rules step by step…

Firstly, The Object of the Game

The goal of underwater hockey is to maneuver a puck into the opponent’s goal at the bottom of the pool using a short stick while following specific rules to ensure fair play and safety.

Secondly, Must Known Official Underwater Hockey Rules

The official must known rules are not a must while playing with friends for fun, however, it will help you watch the game on TV or play in a competition.

Let’s learn the official rules one by one…

  1. Ten-player squads paint the underwater canvas, with a dance of 6 swimmers in perpetual motion while 4 await their aquatic cue for substitution.
  2. The aquatic saga unfolds in twin 15-minute tales, separated by a 5-minute interlude for players to recharge their aquatic spirits.
  3. In this watery realm, players inhabit zones, each like a stanza of strategy. Yet, formations sculpt the unfolding saga, as tactics weave a symphony.
  4. Teams split into dual narratives of attack and defense, narrating the tale of balance. Midfield exponents pen their own verses, shaping the rhythm of the play.
  5. Puck and stick unite in a symphony of motion, the only permissible kinship. The body, a mere observer, must not join this poetic pas de deux.
  6. A code of respect governs, permitting touch only when the puck and player entwine. Contact is a privilege for those cradling the puck’s narrative.

Thirdly, Violations of the Rules

Whether you play for fun or participate in any competition, there are certain things you can not do in underwater hockey. Now, learn the violations of underwater hockey rules:

  1. Players must not physically touch or impede opponents. No hitting, holding, or pushing is allowed.
  2. Players must not block the puck using their hands or bodies. Only the stick is allowed to play the puck.
  3. Players cannot surface directly over the puck to obstruct opponents. Intentional obstruction of opponents’ access to the puck is not allowed.
  4. Preventing an opponent from accessing the puck by positioning oneself is a violation.
  5. Using the stick in an illegal manner, such as striking opponents or using excessive force, is prohibited.
  6. Any behavior that shows disrespect for opponents, teammates, or officials is not allowed.
  7. Referees may penalize players for violations with warnings, ejections from the water, or temporary suspension.
  8. Violating the correct technique for surface recoveries, such as not keeping a hand on the wall or not having the stick on the puck, is a violation.
  9. Interfering with substitutions or not following proper substitution procedures is considered a violation.
  10. Not properly equalizing during dives and ascents can result in violations for safety reasons.
  11. Using unauthorized or unsafe equipment, or not wearing required gear, can lead to violations.

Fourthly, Underwater Hockey Basics for Beginners

Before you start playing, you should know how about the necessary equipment, players, and their positions. Cause, without those things how can you play?

So, let’s start with equipment.

Basic equipment:

Mask and SnorkelEnables underwater vision and facilitates breathing while swimming face down.
FinsEnhances swimming speed and agility for effective maneuverability.
GloveProtective gear worn on one hand, utilized for hitting the puck.
StickA compact, approximately 10-inch-long instrument used to handle and play the puck.
PuckA weighty, flat object that serves as the objective for scoring goals.

Underwater Hockey players and their positions

ForwardPositioned closer to the opponent’s goal, focusing on offensive play and goal-scoring.
MidfieldCentral players contribute to both offense and defense while maintaining balance.
DefenderPositioned closer to their own goal, responsible for protecting the goal and supporting the midfield.
GoalkeeperThe last line of defense, stationed in front of the goal to block and save shots from opponents.

Lastly, Here’s a simple breakdown of the basic rules

Now, I will teach you to form a hockey team, how to score, and win a game. This is must-know knowledge of an underwater hockey player.

So, first forming a team…

1. Teams:

Two teams compete against each other, each with six players in the water at a time.

Team CompositionNumber of Players
Players per Team6
Active Players in Water6
Substitutes AllowedYes
Substitution AreasDesignated Zones

2. Gameplay:

Start: The game begins with both teams lined up on their respective goal lines. The puck is placed in the middle of the pool.

Swimming: Players use their fins and snorkels to swim and maneuver underwater.
Passing and Shooting: Players pass the puck using their sticks and try to shoot it into the opponent’s goal.

Substitutions: Players can be substituted in and out of the water at designated substitution areas.
Scoring: A point is scored when the puck completely crosses the goal line at the bottom of the pool.

3. Safety:

Equalization: Equalizing techniques are used to manage pressure changes during dives and ascents.

Communication: Players communicate underwater using hand signals and body language.

Respect: Players must respect their opponents, teammates, and officials at all times.

4. Game Duration:

Games are typically played in two halves, each lasting around 10-15 minutes, depending on the level of play and tournament rules.

5. Scoring:

Scoring ActionPoints Awarded
Puck Crosses Goal Line1 point
Scoring TeamThe team that shot the puck into the opponent’s goal
Goal LineAt the bottom of the pool, designated by markings
Puck Movement RestrictionsThe stick must be used, no hands or bodies

A team earns one point when the puck successfully crosses the goal line located at the bottom of the pool.

The team that shoots the puck into the opponent’s goal is awarded the point. Players are allowed to use their sticks to maneuver the puck and score, but they must not use their hands or bodies to block or manipulate the puck.

The goal line is clearly marked on the pool floor, and players must ensure that the puck fully crosses this line to count as a goal.


Imagine an intense underwater hockey match between Team A and Team B. The game has been a back-and-forth battle, with both teams showcasing their skills and strategies beneath the surface.

In the second half of the game, Team A manages to gain possession of the puck near the opponent’s goal. One of their forwards expertly uses their stick to guide the puck through the water, swiftly maneuvering it past the defenders. With a swift and precise motion, the forward propels the puck across the goal line at the bottom of the pool.

As the puck crosses the goal line, the referee signals the achievement, and a point is added to Team A’s score. The players of Team A erupt into cheers and high-fives, celebrating their successful scoring effort.

The scoreboard now reads: Team A – 1, Team B – 0.

In this scenario, Team A’s forward showcased their stick-handling skill and teamwork to score a point by guiding the puck across the opponent’s goal line. This point represents their accomplishment in the underwater arena, adding to the excitement and competitiveness of the game.


Can players use their hands or bodies to block the puck or obstruct opponents?

No, players are strictly prohibited from using their hands or bodies to block the puck or obstruct opponents. Only the stick can be used to play the puck.

Are players allowed to make physical contact with opponents during gameplay?

Players are not allowed to make physical contact with opponents, except when they are in possession of the puck. Contact is limited to situations where it’s necessary for fair play and puck possession.

How are substitutions managed during an underwater hockey game?

Each team consists of 10 players, with 6 players in the water at any time. The remaining 4 act as rolling substitutes, waiting for designated substitution opportunities to rotate in and out of the game.

What happens if a player surfaces over the puck to block opponents’ access?

Surfacing directly over the puck to obstruct opponents is not allowed. Players must avoid this action and adhere to fair play by maintaining proper positioning and technique.

Can players score goals using any part of their body other than the stick?

No, players can only score goals by using the stick to propel the puck across the opponent’s goal line. Using any other body part is considered a violation of the rules.

Are there any specific guidelines for player communication during the game?

Players communicate underwater using hand signals and body language to coordinate their actions and strategies effectively.

What happens if a player commits a foul during the game?

Depending on the severity of the foul, referees may issue warnings, ejections from the water, or temporary suspensions. Penalties ensure fair play and adherence to the rules.

How is the equalization of pressure managed during dives and ascents?

Players use equalization techniques to manage pressure changes while diving and ascending. These techniques help prevent discomfort and potential injury.

Can a player from the defending team block an opponent’s shot by using their body?

Players from the defending team are not allowed to block shots using their bodies. The stick must be used for defensive actions, and players should focus on proper positioning and stick-play to defend the goal.

What determines when a goal is officially scored?

A goal is officially scored when the puck fully crosses the goal line at the bottom of the pool, as indicated by the referee’s observation and signal.

Can players use their fins to obstruct opponents or gain an advantage?

Players must use their fins for swimming and maneuvering, not for obstructing opponents. Any attempt to use fins in an unfair manner may result in penalties.

Is there a limit to how many times a player can substitute in and out of the game?

Rolling substitutes allow players to rotate in and out as needed, ensuring continuous gameplay. However, substitutions should follow designated areas and guidelines to maintain the flow of the game.

Can a player score a goal by hitting the puck from above the water surface?

No, to score a goal, the puck must fully cross the goal line at the bottom of the pool. Shots from above the water surface do not count as goals.

Are there specific rules for the goalkeeper’s movements and actions?

Goalkeepers play a vital role in defense. They can use their stick and body to block shots but should follow the same no-contact rule as other players. Goalkeepers must stay within the designated area near the goal.

How are tie games resolved in underwater hockey?

Tie games are usually resolved by overtime periods or penalty shootouts, depending on the tournament or league rules.

Are there restrictions on how players can handle the stick while playing?

Players can handle the stick with one or both hands to maneuver the puck. However, stick play should not involve dangerous or reckless actions that could harm opponents.

What happens if a player accidentally surfaces over the puck during play?

Accidentally surfacing over the puck may lead to a loss of possession, as the player must return to the designated area for a proper surface recovery.

How are disputes or disagreements among players resolved during a game?

Disputes can be resolved by the referee, who has the final authority to make decisions based on the rules and observations.

Are there any specific rules regarding player attire and gear?

Players must wear the required gear, including masks, snorkels, fins, gloves, and sticks, to ensure safety and adherence to the rules.

Can players use their snorkels to obstruct opponents’ view or access to the puck?

No, players must not use their snorkels to obstruct opponents. Fair play and sportsmanship should always be maintained.


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