US Beach Flag Football Association Co-Ed Modified Rules
(all other side rules follow the NIRSA flag rules)

Basic Key Beach Flag Football Rules

  1. 2 completions over the line of scrimmage = 1st down
  2. ONLY 1 first down per drive [total of 8 plays]
  3. 9 points – women catching, throwing or running into the end zone.
  4. Extra point options are 1, 2 or 3 points.
  5. 4 men + 2 women on the field at all times.
  6. No kickoffs – start at the 20-yard mark.  No fake punts.
  7. Free substitution
  8. 35 seconds between end of a play and the next play

Points of emphasis for tournament play.

  • Game time. The games will be played in two halves of 30 minutes each.    The Verdict Is In Tournaments halves will be a maximum 10-minute halftime [see tourney director].  If a larger bracket of 6 or 7 teams, time will be shaved off to equal playing time with smaller brackets.  The amount of playing time will equal to other brackets by this method.  Clock will only stop, other than a time out and after the two-minute warning on incomplete passes, out of bounds.  Otherwise it runs.
  • Persons subject to these rules. Team representatives, including players, substitutes, replaced players, coaches, trainers, and spectators and other persons affiliated with the team.  Anyone in the team playing area, are subject to the rules of game and shall be governed by decisions of officials assigned to the game.
  • Game official’s authority. The game officials shall assume authority for the contest, including penalizing unsportsmanlike acts, 10 minutes prior to the scheduled game time, or as soon thereafter as they are able to be present.
  • Official’s jurisdiction extends through the referee’s declaration of the end of the 2nd half or overtime and until they leave the playing vicinity. 3 officials will be assigned to the playoff / final game.
  • Six players (4 male and 2 female) are required to start the game. You may play with less than six, but cannot continue with less than five (3 male and 2 female) Rationale: you must have 4 on the line of scrimmage at all times prior to the snap.  Anyone may be in motion, but one at a time. You may start the game with 5 players (3 male and 2 female or 4 male and 1 female – NO exceptions). You have you have a 15-minute grace period (by the officials watch). During the first 5 minutes of the scheduled game, 7 points is awarded to the opposing team. During 10 minutes an additional 7 points is awarded the opposing team. At 15 minutes the game is forfeited. If neither team has enough eligible players at game time, the first team to have the required players is considered as ready to play.
  • There will be no kick offs to start either half of the game. The ball will not be put in play from the first cone from the goal line (normally the 20 yard line).
  • Beach Flag football in its nature is non-contact.  To further demonstrate the intentions of the safety of the league we have clarified the tackle rule.  Any tackling is a penalty.  Under the no tackling infractions; any player who leaves his or her feet to dive at an offensive player and makes contact primarily with the elbow, forearm, head and or shoulder will constitute a tackling infraction as they knock a player down.  It will be first down from that point (spot foul).  This will not exclude a first down if it has not already been accomplished by the offense.

Minor infractions that result in a 5 step walk off penalty & repeat down if accepted

  • Off sides
  • 4 offensive players not being set on the line of scrimmage
  • Motion player or players not set for 1 full second [1 Mississippi ]
  • Encroachment by a defensive player on the line of scrimmage.  [1 yard back off of the line of scrimmage]
  • Screen blocking. Screen blocking is legally obstructing an opponent without using any part of the body to initiate contact.  It is like a basketball charge rule where the blocker must be set for one full second. The rusher must go around the set player. If the blocker restricts the rusher or runner with the ball illegally it is a penalty
  • Commissioner and refs use the NIRSA rules for all other rules for the flag football games with penalties in this category.
  • Delay of Game – Time between each down. The time between each down is 35 seconds in a tournament.
  • 2 Forward passes

Major infractions that result in 1st downs or 10 step walk off penalty if accepted

  • Pass interference = an automatic 1st down which will not apply to the one first down per offensive series. The ball will be on the spot of the infraction.
  • If a player takes a run at an offensive player who is catching a ball and leads with the elbow, forearm, and or shoulder in an attempt to break up the play at all costs with no attempt to grab a flag or intercept the ball will results in an unsportsmanlike penalty.  A first down is issued in accordance with pass interference. A possible ejection is possible if an obvious attempt to hurt a player.  Special note: An ejection is for the entire tournament.
  • An active runner with the ball that deliberately runs over, spins into or drives between players that causes them to drop harmfully to the ground will result in a 10 step penalty and possibly and ejection if it draws an injury.
  • **Special Note:  If this tackle infraction were to occur again by the same player in the same game the player will be ejected from the game site @ the referee’s discretion for the integrity of the game.  That ejection is for the entire tournament weekend. 
  • Scoring
    • Men are worth 6 points.
    • Women are 9 points for catching, throwing, running into the end zone.
    • * No rule to have to throw to women so many times per game or sequence. Women athletes are amazing and make or break most games. No antiquated standards in the beach flag game.
  • Extra Points: Options for 1, 2, and 3 points. The scoring team has the option on how many points to go for with each score.
    • 1 point = 3 steps from the goal line [set by the line ref]
    • 2 points = 6 steps from the goal line
    • 3 points = 15 steps from the goal line [cone marker] The team must declare their intention prior to the officials placing the ball in play. If the defense picks the ball off and returns it for a score it will count for the # of points the offense was attempting.
  • Declared “kick” (passes) will be allowed if declared on 4th down only. There will be no rushing on a declared kick.  A time out can change the call.
  • Time between each down. The time between each play during a tourney is 35 seconds. Rationale: We want to keep the game moving. Clock will not stop, other than a time out, two minute warning.
  • At the 2 minute warning the clock will stop on incomplete passes and getting out of bounds or a time out.
  • Flag belts. Minimum of two flags Velcro ONLY with detachable flags. The flags must be centered on the hips at all times. Flags must be 2 inches wide and 14 inches long. The flags should be contrasting color to their opponent’s flags. 
  • Removing the flag. After de-flagging the runner, the flag must be held above the head for the officials to see. If the runner does not have flags, or has only one flag, the game reverts to one hand touch anywhere between the shoulders and the knees.
  • Shoes may be worn only with soft rubber soles.  No regular shoes or boots may be used for safety of the players in the soft sand.
  • Jewelry or exposed metal on clothes and person will not be worn. Knee braces made of hard plastic or metal must be covered on both sides by a ½” closed cell, slow recovery rubber or other material (rubber) similar thickness.
  • Clothing: Jerseys with a number must be worn. The jersey must either be long enough to remain tucked in AT ALL TIMES or at least 4 inches above the naval. Pants or shorts shall not have belts, belt loops, or pockets. No pockets on jerseys (sewn pockets on pants, shorts or jerseys are no longer allowed.) Drawstrings must be kept insides of pants at all times.
  • Mercy rule. There will be a 28 points mercy rule in the second half ONLY.  If a team is ahead AT ANY TIME by 28 points the game clock will continue to run with no time outs on either side or stoppage of play. The game will be stopped if altercations show up for poor sportsmanship due to the extreme scores.  Referees option at that point after a warning in the second half.  The idea is to have fun and play.
  • Forfeit:  In tourney play, if you forfeit a game you are out of the tourney and may be subject to being held out of future tourneys.  Be aware of the daily schedule and be on time.  Forfeits affect playoffs so let play and have fun.
  • Time outs.  Each team will be allowed two time outs per half.
  • Ejections.  Any player or coach ejected from a game must LEAVE THE FIELD OF PLAY AND THE SIDELINES. Ejected players or coaches will not be allowed in the vicinity of the playing field during their suspension period. Good rule of thumb. If you can be seen, you are in the vicinity.
  • If ejected 2 times in 2 years then you a banned for life in USBFFA tournaments.  If you try and register and sneak into future play with another team that team may be subject to a lifetime ban for allowing you to play with them. Throw a punch for any reason and you are banned for life in our tournaments.  Safety is key!
  • Team Sideline Boxes. Team boxes will be located on opposite sides of the field for teams and coaches. Team boxes will be two yards off the sideline and extend between the two 20 yard lines.
  • Protest. A written protest involving the misapplication of a rule and $100 must be presented to the Commissioner within 24 hours in league play. The protest must be made known to the officials at the time of protest and before the next snap of the ball. A team captain may protest the misapplication of a rule ONLY. If a team captain’s protest is upheld, the game will be started at the point of protest on the following play date when available and the game officials will not receive an additional fee for this game.  * Tournaments decisions will be declared on the field by the tourney director with reports of the officials and any player as necessary.
  • Age: Must be 18 years or older for the league play. 
  • Field Size:  30 wide by 60 long with 10-yard end zones in the soft sand.
  • Ball:  We use the Wilson NFL composite leather ball.  Only the Field ball can be used for each numbered field as the official ball for each game.
  • There are no tie games. Teams will flip a coin to see who goes first in defending or on offensive in a college overtime type play. Each team gets the ball once at the 1st cone [20] with 4 plays only to score. After both teams execute it the best score wins. If no clear scored winner, then we go again until a winner is clarified.
  • Bracket ties for playoff position will be completed the same way as above until there is a clear winner.