Water Safety and Risk Management

Water Safety is a ongoing concern for all of us at Madison Boats. There is inherent risk in all watersports. We do our best to help reduce these risks but it is important that you operate within your capabilities and do all you can to further educate yourself on the watercraft, associated skills and risks. Below are some links and information. 

Waivers & Rules

There is inherent risk in all watersports and related activity and Madison Boats retains the right to deny access or use of our equipment or facilities for actions that cause or contribute to injuries to self or others; disrupts other boater’s enjoyment of the water; inclement weather, assessment of participants boating capabilities, or the ability to provide necessary assistance services in the event of an accident.

Before you go you should be aware that Madison Boats staff are not first responders, lifeguards, or certified professionals. If there is an emergency please call 911. 

By agreeing to rent a boat with Madison Boats you agree to Madison Boats Rules designed to reduce risk.

You will also be required to sign a waiver of liability before participating in the activity.

2021 Madison Boats Rules

2021 Madison Boats Waiver

2021 Madison Boats Pontoon Rules 

A couple highlights of the Rules include:

- No Alcohol and or Drugs: No participant may bring or be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while on our boats. 

- PFDs: All persons must have a PFD and Madison Boats strongly encourages wearing the PFD. Minors must wear their PFD at all times when not in a boat with their parent or guardian. Minors under 13 MUST wear their PFD at all times. 

- You will comply with all Federal, State and local laws, if you are unclear on laws please visit www.boat-ed.com

- Boating is weather dependent. All people listed under this membership and guests, will heed all warnings and will return to the boathouse at the first sign of storms, high winds, lightning, thunder or severe weather.

- You are responsible for any damage or loss to the boats.

Pontoon Boats & Boater Safety

We love that our pontoon boats can help people get out on Lake Mendota. That being said there are a couple things you should know before renting from us. 

  • NO Alcohol or Drugs. We do not allow you to bring or be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. I know, I know it is WI and it is a pontoon boat -what's the harm in some wine for the non-driver?  Alcohol is a major contributor to water accidents and it can result in what might have been minor incidents turning serious or even fatal. 

  • We require the captain (driver) be over 25 and have their boater safety certificate if born after 1/1/1989.

  • It is a good idea for all captains/drivers to get their Boater Safety Certificate. 

  • Please review our complete list of Pontoon Boat Rules

  This is a big deal. As a parent/guardian we do offer you the ability to have give consent for your child to go out on the water without you present. Before you make this decision please consider does your child have the maturity to make the right decisions and the skills to handle challenges regarding watersports and safety.

As you consider giving your child this access, please know Madison Boats does not provide life guards, are not trained in water rescues and do not have the ability to monitor the water at all times. Of course we do our best to provide support and notify officials at the first sign of a problem.

If you are still interested in giving your child/dependent  unsupervised permission we have a three part permission program. 

1) The minor must get their  Paddle Sports Certificate. This is a course put on Boat-ed (same organization that offers boater safety through the WI DNR) and focuses on paddle sports. This takes about 3 hours so you may want to break it up and please pay attention to the last couple sections on safety. The course is $29.50 but we have a 15% discount if you use the code MBPADDLESAFE

  • This certificate will be what your child brings when they rent a boat. 

  • They will only have to take this one time. 

  • If the class cost is a this is problem please reach out as we have some financial assistance. Please email us at admin@madisonboats.com

2) Please Watch the Madison Boats risk review video. 

3) Finally, you as the parent/guardian will need to sign the Unsupervised Rules and Waiver; however it is best if you and the minor do this together. We recognize that not all parents are OK with all locations and so we have three separate Waivers -one for each location. Unfortunately, if you want your child to have access to all you will have to sign each one. 

Once you and your minor/dependent have completed these three steps they are able to rent a boat and go out without you being on site. They will be able to book online or walk up as normal and they will have to bring a copy (we suggest laminating) of their boater safety certificate. 


We know this is involved and it is only because we care that we are asking you and them to take these additional steps. 

Unsupervised Minor Program