Madison organization brings back pontoon rides and rentals

This will be the 41st year of pontoon rides & rentals to help community members enjoy Madison’s lakes.
This will be the 41st year of pontoon rides & rentals to help community members enjoy Madison’s lakes.
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 2:59 AM CDT|Updated: May. 22, 2023 at 10:49 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -Returning for a 41st season June 1, pontoon rides and rentals on Madison’s lakes will be offered through the Madison School and Community Recreation (MSCR) summer program.

MSCR offers three ways to experience this unique program including drop-in rides, specialty trips and boat rentals. Pontoon boats are driven by dedicated and trained volunteers.

“We have over 80 volunteers this season alone. We get a lot of community input and people reaching out to us and they are excited to drive the boats and help the community of Madison access the water in an easy and affordable way,” said Emily Peffer, Recreation Specialist with MSCR.

The fee is $5 per person and those 3 and under can board for free. If fees are a barrier, free tickets are made available at all Madison Public Library locations.

“Madison is such a great community that is surrounded by the lakes, and its such a great experience to take a boat ride and get to see the city from a different perspective,” said Peffer.

2023 Schedule Drop-in Rides

MSCR offers drop in rides at three locations: Tenney, Goodspeed, and Warner Parks from June 1 through September 30. All trips are first come, first serve with no reservations available. Rides will not be available from Olbrich Park this year due to ongoing construction.

All drop in rides are subject to cancellation due to high water levels or weather. MSCR advises to call the weather line at 608-204-3044 (ext. 4) for the most current program information before heading out.

It should be noted no pontoon rides will go out on holidays including Memorial Day, 4th of July or Labor Day.

Tenney Park (1615 Sherman Ave.) Registration begins 45 minutes prior to posted starting times.

  • Sundays - 1:30pm-3:00pm, 3:15pm-4:45pm
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays - 5:30pm-7:00pm, 7:15pm-8:45pm (7:15pm does not run in September)

Goodspeed (Near Memorial Union on UW Campus) Registration begins 15 minutes prior to posted starting times and fees are collected by MSCR crew on board the boat.

  • Thursdays -1:30pm-2:30pm, 2:45pm-3:45pm

Warner Park (1201 Woodward Dr.) Registration begins 15 minutes prior to posted starting times.

  • Fridays - 1:30pm-2:30pm, 2:45pm-3:45pm

Rental Reservations

Reserving a pontoon includes volunteer drivers and first mates to crew your trip. Up to three boats are available with a 15-passenger maximum. Applications for rentals are currently being accepted. Rentals can be secured 7 days a week in 90 minute or 3-hour long rides.

Specialty Trips

Specialty trips included but are not limited to narrated lake tours, meal trips, children’s specialty trips and recreational trips. To see the full list, click here.

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