Tenney Lock for Boaters

Tenney Lock

1500 Sherman Avenue, Madison, WI 53703; PH (608) 266-4364

Experience the Dane County Tenney Lock and Spillway – one of three boat locks located on the Yahara River. The Tenney Lock is the largest lock and is located on Lake Mendota within the City of Madison.  The lock is operated by a Parks Lock Attendant during specific park hours (see schedule below) and requires a permit for use.

If you need access through the Lock during off-hours, please contact Dane County Parks (Monday - Friday) at least 48 hours in advance.  There will be a $50 minimum charge.  Total charge will be determined by service requested.

Parks Division:  (608) 224-3730
Tenney Lock:  (608) 266-4364

Boat Size Limitations

You cannot go through Tenney Lock or any of the county locks with a raised mast. Water levels determine the clearance height for a boat to move through the Lock. Generally, in normal water conditions 6 feet is the maximum height. During times of high water conditions, the maximum height will be less. Height is also an issue on the Yahara River (canal) moving between Mendota and Monona. At least one bridge through this stretch has a maximum height of 6 feet.  See Tenney Lock Fact Sheet for additional information.

Lock Safety Tips

  • Shut off motor.
  • Keep hands, feet and other body parts inside boat and remain seated.
  • Expect some movement of the boat as water level changes. Chains on the lock walls are provided to assist with boat stability.
  • No smoking while in the lock chambers. Exhaust fumes or gas from unspent fuel could ignite or explode.
  • Do not exit boat while in the lock. Bathrooms are available for your use after boat is through the lock. 


Donate to Dane County ParksDoyle's Rockstar Painting and Design donated their time and materials to paint this facility in 2017
If you are interested in making a donation, you can find opportunities on our donations page.