Seal of Dane County County of Dane

Navigational Aids & Mooring Buoys

Dane County ordinance establishes a 200-ft slow-no-wake zone along the entire shorelines of Lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa and Kegonsa. Additionally, during periods of high water sometimes emergency slow-no-wake restrictions are in effect creating an entire lake surface of slow-no-wake. 


There are approximately 160 buoys in the Yahara lakes that mark no-wake zones, rock obstructions and the center of channels to assist boaters in navigation. 

Some points to remember include:

  • From shore out to 200 feet, obstructions are not marked.
  • Areas that are buoyed and signed Slow-no-wake and other areas within 100 feet of restrictions (e.g., boat landings) require no-wake speed. No-wake speed is the slowest speed a boat can go and still maintain steerage.
  • Boats should always pass between pairs of green and red buoys.

The sheriff’s boat patrol monitors all mooring buoys that are privately owned. All mooring buoys within 150 feet of shore are no longer regulated by the DNR; however, they can be regulated by local government by ordinance. Thus, individuals should check with their local government before placing any new mooring buoy within 150 feet of shore. All mooring buoys beyond 150 feet from shore must be lighted, and a permit is required from the DNR.