UW Lifesaving Station / Lake Mendota Rescue Service
firstname.lastname@example.org -- Chris Kleppe (Senior/Lifesaving Station Supervisor)
email@example.com -- Sean Geib (EHS/Assistant Supervisor)
(608) 262-3505 -- Emergency or 911
144 E. Gilman St.
Madison, WI 53715-2609
Current conditions on Lake Mendota are described here.
The UW Lifesaving Station, established in 1909 to provide a lake rescue service for UW-Madison students that frequented the waters of Lake Mendota. Over 100 years later, the UW Lifesaving Station continues to provide a lake safety and rescue operation that serves boaters and swimmers of the UW campus and greater Madison community.
The UW Lifesaving Station maintains a seasonal (April through October) lake watch form its lookout tower/boathouse facility located on the southeast shore of Lake Mendota. The observation tower affords a view of approximately 80% of Lake Mendota's 9,842 acre surface area. Two 31-foot-twin-screw rescue launches are maintained to assist boaters. Additionally, the service operates the Memorial Union swim pier, staffed by student lifeguards, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
The rescue service keeps close ties with the members of the Hoofer Sailing Club and canoeists from Outdoor Rentals, both located at the Memorial Union. The two groups have formulated a series of agreements to ensure safe boating practices among campus lake users. Depending on the day's weather and lake conditions, boat rentals are user restrictions may be imposed. Hoofer sailors are required to pass a progressive rating system to sail under the day's "flag" conditions as determined by the UW Lifesaving Station. When severe weather is imminent, the UW Lifesaving Station activates a steam whistle and flashing red light system to warm boaters, and conducts a storm warning run around the lake.
Website includes links to current conditions and Memorial Union swim pier.
The steam whistle, located atop the Helen C. White observatory tower, announces the countdown to sundown during sailing season. The whistle blows approximately one hour before sunset each evening. The main purpose of the whistle, however, is to warn boaters of an oncoming dangerous storm. Three short blasts indicate an approaching storm. If they hear the warning, boaters should clear the water.