UW-Madison Pier at Memorial Union

Located just off the Memorial Union Terrace, the Pier is staffed during the summer by Recreation & Wellbeing lifeguards. Please note, the pier may close due to unhealthy water quality or inclement weather.

Check current lake conditions


11am – 7:30pm, every day

Swim Safely

Public Health Madison & Dane County regularly tests Lake Mendota to make sure it's safe for swimming.

Check water quality

Pier Policies & Rules

  • No diving or head-first entries from the Pier
  • No swimming under the Pier
  • No fishing in the swim area at any time
  • No boats in the swim area
  • No running, pushing, dunking, throwing lake weeds, hazardous or disruptive playing, etc.
  • Disruptive behaviors/activities that distract the guard from watching other swimmers are not to be tolerated
  • No dogs allowed in the swim area during guarded hours
  • Sunbathers are not allowed to obstruct the Pier walkway; a safe and clear pathway for other visitors to get to the end of the Pier must be maintained
  • Patrons may not use the lifeguard stand-up paddleboard or other lifeguarding equipment
  • Patrons may not sit in the guard towers
  • Swimming outside the marked swimming area is discouraged; long distance swimmers should be advised of the inherent hazards, as well as the lifeguard’s primary duties to watch over swimmers within the swim area
  • Children under the age of 17 must be accompanied by a responsible adult
  • Swimming is not permitted in the swim area when University Health Services posts a “CLOSED” sign, due to possible algae blooms or bacteria contamination
  • Swimming is not permitted when there is danger or lightning associated with thunderstorm activity in the area
    • The Pier cannot reopen for 30 minutes after the last thunderstorm activity (lightning, thunder) or until instructed by UW Lake Safety and Rescue
  • Public nudity is not permitted on the Pier
  • No smoking