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Cedar Rapids boaters rescued after boat gets stuck on Coralville Reservoir mud flat

Two Cedar Rapids boaters learned a hard lesson when they passed a marker buoy on the Coralville Reservoir indicating shallow water was ahead.

Their fishing boat became stuck on a mud flat around the bend from Bobbers Grill late Saturday morning. A call was placed to 911 which brought the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Swisher Fire and Rescue, Solon Fire and the Johnson County Sheriff's Office to the scene.

“They were in about one inch of water on top of waist-deep mud,” said State Conservation Officer Erika Billerbeck, who along with her newly hired seasonal water patrol officer used a canoe to rescue one of the boaters. The Swisher Fire and Rescue used a canoe to rescue the other. The ordeal lasted about 3-1/2 hours.

As for their struck boat? It was freed later when the water level rose.

“The water in these flood control reservoirs fluctuates based on the season and the Corps of Engineers water management schedule, so boaters shouldn’t assume that if one area was fine depth-wise at one time of year, it would be fine all year,” Billerbeck said.

She said this happens on occasion because operators either ignore the signs at the ramps or find themselves outside of the channel.

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