A severe drought gripped Israel in 1985 and 1986. The winter rains barely came. Water was pumped from the Sea of Galilee to irrigate parched fields throughout the country. Predictably, the Kinneret (the Hebrew name of the freshwater inland lake also known as the Sea of Galilee) shrank. Wide expanses of lakebed, normally covered with water, were exposed.
Moshe and Yuval Lufan live with their families on Kibbutz Ginnosar on the northwest shore of the lake. Avid amateur archaeologists, Moshe and Yuval frequently explored the newly exposed lakebed for ancient remains.
In January 1986 they were examining an area south of the kibbutz, where a tractor stuck in the mud had churned up some ancient bronze coins. Nearby they found a few ancient iron nails, and shortly afterwards they saw the oval outline of a boat, entirely buried in the mud.