Mendota RC is committed to safety. We want our members to have a safe and fun experience both on and off the water.
In December 2014 the Mendota Rowing Club board of Directors adopted a US Rowing recommended Safe Sport Policy to make sure all our athletes are safe at all times. All board members, coaches, lead learn to row instructors, and support staff are required to complete free training offered by US Rowing and the USOC. Our policy is available to download below. Instructions for completing the training are included in this document.
For more information on safety while on the water please review our club bylaws, rules, and if you are an independent sculler the sculling manual. The clubs safety committee meets at least once a year to review all policy and procedures. If you have any questions or comments please direct them to board at mendotarowingclub.com.
Mendota RC's rules spell out the club's policies for when rowers can go out on the water, however there are a few other things to note that are specific to the body of water we row on.
The UW Lifesaving Station is located at the other end of James Madison Park from the Mendota RC boathouse. The UW Lifesaving station is in operation from April-October and serves all boaters and swimmers on Lake Mendota. In case of emergency, they can be reached at (608) 262-3505. For non emergent matters, they can be reached at (608) 262-5865.
Mendota RC is not the only rowing club on Lake Mendota. In conjunction with the University of Wisconsin's rowing team, we follow a set traffic pattern to ensure the safety of all rowers and equipment. All Mendota RC members should be familiar with the traffic pattern, even if they're not a dedicated coxswain and don't scull.
Lake Mendota is a sizable body of water. Certain wind directions can make part or all of the lake unrowable at times. If you rowed at another club that rows on a more protected lake or on a river, this may be a change for you. Before heading out, you or your coach should check the current wind conditions and be aware of any shifts in the wind speed or direction that are predicted to happen while you are out on the water.
Here are some tips about how to handle different wind speeds and directions on the lake:
Wind Direction Notes North Mendota RC's boathouse sits on a shore that has no shelter from wind in this direction. If the wind speed is more than 5mph, it is likely that you will not be able to launch. Use caution if conditions are fine when you launch but the wind speed is forecast to rise above 5 mph while you are out on the water. Northeast There is no shelter from a strong wind from this direction. If the wind speed is light or moderate, head for Maple Bluff. The water may be a bit choppy as you head east from the boathouse, but should improve as you approach the bluff. Going past the bluff and down into Warner Bay is not advised as the water on the other side of the bluff will be choppy. East Head for Maple Bluff. The best water will be found in the lee of the bluff, but anything along the eastern shore of the lake should be fine, including Warner Bay. Southeast The best water will be in the cove by the Governor's Mansion, but anything from the end of the 2k course (in front of the UW Union) to Warner Park should be rowable. South The lake should be rowable unless it's a very strong (30+ mph) wind. Sticking to the southern shore is advised. Anything from the start of the 2k course by (UW Hospital) to the Governor's Mansion should be fine. Use caution when you are in the outside (lake side) lane to make sure the wind does not blow you into the middle of the lake. Southwest Head for the 2k course and University Bay. It does not take a strong wind from this direction for the water east of the boathouse (toward the breakwater) to become very choppy. The water should be great from the start of the 2k course (by UW Hospital) back to the boathouse. If the wind is light or moderate, going out to Picnic Point or around Picnic Point to Second Point should also be fine. West If the wind speed is light, head for the 2k course and University Bay. If the wind is moderate or strong, it is likely you will not be able to launch or return to the boathouse safely Northwest Mendota RC's boathouse sits on a shore that has no shelter from wind in this direction. If the wind speed is more than 5mph, it is likely that you will not be able to launch. Use caution if conditions are fine when you launch but the wind speed is forecast to rise above 5 mph while you are out on the water.
If you are not familiar with some of the landmarks mentioned, a map is available here
Some years, depending on weather conditions, Lake Mendota is subject to blue green algae blooms. Blue green algae is also known as cyanobacteria. water hazards are posted at If a bloom happens, Madison & Dane Country Public Health will issue an alert. Regardless of whether an alert has been issued, rowers should avoid rowing through areas where the water surface looks like paint or pea soup. If you do row through such an area, please wash the boat, oars, and any areas where you were splashed when you get back to the boathouse.