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Rules of Underwater Hockey

The basic regulations to play underwater hockey (which is often called Octopush) intertwine the disciplines and fundamentals of ice hockey with the physical applications of swimming.


The non-contact sport of underwater hockey is a fast moving game which quickly develops your swim skills and builds your free diving capabilities because it is played on the bottom of a swimming pool.

Even though the sport originated from America, underwater hockey was in fact invented by the British Navy in the 1950s.

They developed a variant of field hockey rules which is played while submerged underwater as a way to keep their divers fit and improve their movement in sub-aquatic activities.

The modern and dynamic version creates a competitive challenge for its participants who are mostly in Asian and South American countries including Columbia, Brazil, China, Japan, India, and Australia.

Underwater Hockey Regulations

Aim of the playing Underwater Hockey Game
  • The aim of underwater hockey is to hit the puck into your opponent’s goal.
  • The game is played below the surface with breaks in play allowed for a goal or a foul.
Pool Size
  • The swimming pool dimensions are usually around 25 meters long, 12 meters wide, and 2 meters deep.
  • Ropes or lead weights can be used as markings for a goal.
Underwater Octopush Equipment
  • Underwater hockey octopush equipment includes:
    • The stick (about 12 inches long made of painted wood).
    • A swimming mask (not goggles).
    • A snorkel tube.
    • Ear protectors.
    • Diving fins.
    • Swimsuit.
    • Gloves (latex for protection).
    • Puck (weighing 3lb and made of plastic coated lead) .
Underwater Hockey Players
  • An underwater hockey team consists of 10 players from a squad of 12.
  • Even though teams have formations, players generally cover zones rather than having positions.
  • Only 6 players may be submerged in the water at any one time and the positions are usually a combination of a center, wings, halfbacks, and a wingback.
  • The remaining 4 players act as interchanging rolling substitutes (similar to ice hockey substitution rules).
Octopush Rules on Game Duration
  • Most games play two 15 minute halves with a 5 minute rest period in between each half.
  • Each team is allowed one 60 seconds time out per half.
  • Typically, the match clock will stop for any infringements occurring in the final 2 minutes.
General Underwater Hockey Regulations
  • Players pass the puck along the floor to team mates using their stick.
  • You may score using only the stick (not hands or any body parts to assist moving the puck).
  • All players are prohibited from making contact with anyone unless they are in possession of the puck.
  • The puck must not rest on the glove or be carried on top of the bat (or stopped deliberately by anything else).
  • Top players can flick or sail the puck well over 3 meters through the water and often coming completely off the bottom of the pool.
Referees and Officials
  • Rule infringements are judged by 2 in-water referees who signal to the out-of-water referee to stop play using a buzzer.
  • Referees can award a free puck for fouls which gives a 3 meter advantage to the disadvantaged team.
  • Match officials may also eject players for 1 or 2 minutes (or remainder of the game) for serious offences.
  • The referee is permitted to award a penalty (2 on 1) or a direct penalty goal if a foul intervened a goal opportunity within 3 meters of the goal.
Winning a Game of Underwater Hockey
  • The winning team is the one which scores the most goals at the end of the game.
  • An extra 15 minutes will be played to determine the winner if the game is a tie after the allotted time.
Scoring in Underwater Hockey
  • Scoring a goal means you managed hit the puck into the opponent’s goal area using your stick.


A to Z Sports Rules and Regulations: A list of popular indoor and outdoor sport categories.
Field Hockey Rules: The basic regulations for playing sticks outdoor field hockey game.
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Underwater Hockey Official Rule Book: [PDF Download Option]

Underwater Hockey Regulations Played in the United Kingdom