Ice fishermen heading out onto Dane County lakes this winter need to have flotation equipment on most ATVs and snowmobiles, and the equipment needs to be inspected.

Deputies from the Dane County Sheriff's Office Marine and Trail Enforcement will start inspecting flotation equipment the first week of December, and will continue to do so through January.

All inspections will take place at the old Parks Department office, 4318 Robertson Road in Madison.

The flotation equipment is required so vehicles will stay afloat in case they break through ice.

On Lakes Mendota, Monona and Wingra, vehicles weighing over 850 pounds require a special permit, while vehicles weighing less than 850 pounds require flotation and a permit.

On all other Dane County lakes, vehicles over 850 pounds require a special use permit, vehicles between 750 and 850 pounds require flotation and a permit and vehicles under 750 pounds have no restrictions.

The inspection costs $10; bring a photo ID with you to the inspection.

2013-14 inspections:

  • Thursday night, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Dec. 5, 12, 19 and 26, and Jan. 2, 9, 16 and 30.
  • Saturday morning, 7:30-9:30 a.m., Dec. 7, 14, 21, 28, and Jan. 4, 11, 18 and 15.

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