This technique is used to trap a victim inside a virtually inescapable sphere of water. The only downside to this technique is that the user must keep at least one arm inside the sphere at all times in order for the victim to remain imprisoned. This technique requires a sufficient amount of water, which can be provided by expelling it from one's mouth. Once trapped the target is unable to move or breathe while within it due to the heaviness of the water. Because of the density of the water it can be used, to a limited extent, for defensive purposes if performed on oneself. It can also be stored in scrolls as traps.
Water clones can be used in preparation for the technique, which block an opponent's attack and trap the attacker in the prison using the clone's own water.Neji Hyūga was able to use his ability to release chakra from all of his tenketsu simultaneously to disrupt the flow of chakra and break the prison. In the anime, it was shown that skilled enough users can perform this technique from afar.
When Zabuza used this technique on Kakashi Hatake, he was still able to talk inside the prison. However, when used by Kisame, Team Guy was greatly restricted. This may mean that there are aspects of this technique that the user can control.
Umibōzu's entire body is composed of water, which allows it to drown its opponents inside it, thus leading Amachi to refer to it as a "Moving Water Prison Technique" (動く水牢の術, Ugoku Suirō no Jutsu).