Wells Lifeboat  RNLI Lifeboats Wells Norfolk UK
Wells Lifeboat

Welcome to Wells RNLI

Wells-next-the-Sea RNLI Lifeboat Station houses an all-weather lifeboat and an inshore lifeboat to save lives and assist with emergencies around Wells and off the North Norfolk coast. Manned by volunteer crews, the boats are ready to launch within minutes, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. This website will tell you more about the station and give you a taste of what we do and the traditions of the lifeboat service.

Recent Services

27 October 2019

The inshore lifeboat launched again to assist stranded charter vessel Salford. The vessel had settled at an extreme angle, half caught on a mud bank at the edge of the creek, as the tide had ebbed, and an attempt was being made to refloat her on the evening tide. A team had taken a pump and equipment out to the boat. The ILB arrived at 16:03 and was subsequently joined by the harbour launch. Despite their combined efforts, the vessel downflooded on the rising tide and, while it was moved some distance and brought more upright, the effort had to be abandoned at 17:00, leaving the vessel partly submerged. The ILB returned to station at 17:24. The Salford was subsequently refloated and recovered to the East End the following day.

Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind W2 Sea Smooth

27 October 2019

The inshore lifeboat crew were paged at 05:56 to assist the vessel Salford which had been stranded in the creeks the night before. The boat's skipper had stayed on-board, and with the boat refloated on the morning tide had made some way back towards Wells but had run aground on a mud bank to one side of the creek, leaving the boat stuck fast and heeled over. The inshore lifeboat launched at 06:11 but was unable to free the vessel and, at 06:42, brought the skipper safely ashore before returning to station at 07:03.

Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind W3 Sea Slight

26 October 2019

The 30' sailing charter/trip boat Salford with 7 passengers on-board had become stranded on a falling tide in Wells marshes near the top of Mo creek and a local 18' sailing dinghy Leilah had put out to bring the passengers ashore. Having picked up the passengers and made some of the way back, this vessel in turn got into difficulty and requested the assistance of the inshore lifeboat. Launching at 21:04 with four crew, the ILB picked its way up the rapidly ebbing Sluice creek to take the passengers off, handing them into the care of the local coastguard at Tug Boat Yard and leaving two crew members with the sailing dinghy. With the tide now mostly gone from Sluice creek, there was insufficient water for the lifeboat to make its way back up. The two crew members bow-hauled the sailing dinghy and her crew back towards Wells, eventually meeting up with a third member of the ILB crew who walked up the creek. The dinghy was then escorted back to Tug Boat Yard. The inshore lifeboat returned to station at 22:22 and was rehoused. The skipper of the Salford remained on-board overnight with the intention of bringing the boat back to Wells on the morning tide

Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind SW2 Sea Slight

14 September 2019

The inshore lifeboat crew were paged at 16:58 to assist 3 persons cut off by the incoming spring tide. The persons were spotted from the boathouse far out on the sands to the west side of the harbour entrance, having retreated to a bank that was rapidly being covered after trying to wade ashore. The lifeboat arrived at 17:12 and picked the people up and landed them safe, if a little wet, outside the boathouse.

Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind SW2 Sea Slight

10 September 2019

The all-weather lifeboat was launched at 17:01 to a 40' yacht 'Pluto', with 4 persons on board, with engine failure and possibly taking on water near the Bridgirdle buoy, approximately 5nm from Wells. The lifeboat arrived alongside at 17:27 and by 17:35 had established a tow back towards Wells. The yacht was safely moored up in the outer harbour by 18:10 and the lifeboat rehoused, refuelled and ready again for service by 19:10.

Weather Cloudy Visibility Good Wind W3 Sea Slight

26 August 2019

The inshore lifeboat crew were paged at 05:53 to assist a single keel 23' yacht which was trying to leave Wells harbour on the last of the tide but had missed the channel and run aground on 'Ben Taylors' sand about half-way between the quay and the lifeboat house. The inshore lifeboat launched at 06:12 but was unable to free the yacht. The yacht was made secure and the two persons on-board brought ashore to await the next tide.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind S1 Sea Smooth

18 August 2019

Four persons and two dogs called 999 after finding themselves cut off by the incoming tide on the sands to the west of the harbour entrance channel. Having attempted to wade ashore, the party waited on a rapidly diminishing sand bank. The ILB launched at 18:12. It picked up the persons 6 minutes later and returned them safely to the beach outside the boathouse.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind SW2 Sea Slight

Phaedra under tow into 

Phaedra under tow into Wells, 18 August 2019 MP

Rehousing the lifeboat after 
the service to Phaedra

The lifeboat being rehoused after the service to Phaedra, 18 August 2019 MP

17 August 2019

The crew were paged just before midnight to assist a yacht Phaedra with two persons on board which had suffered engine failure while on passage from Hull to Wells. The all-weather lifeboat left the boathouse for a low water launch in Holkham Bay and located the yacht, approximately 7 miles north east of Wells, around 45 minutes later. Two crew members were transferred aboard and a tow was set up, the lifeboat and yacht arriving in Holkham Bay at 03:20 where the yacht was anchored to wait for the tide. At 06.10, the tow was restablished and the yacht taken in and safely berthed in the outer harbour.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind SW4 Sea Slight/Moderate

4 August 2019

The all-weather lifeboat launched to complete a tow from Sheringham Lifeboat. The 37' cruiser Janolian with two persons on-board on passage from Hull to Lowestoft had developed engine problems off Sheringham and Sheringham's Atlantic class lifeboat had towed the vessel back to Wells. Launching at low water at 16:38 from Holkham beach, the lifeboat was alongside at 16:45. Sheringham lifeboat transferred a crew member from Wells to the casualty vessel and was then released to return to station. Both boats then waited off Wells for the evening tide, the tow being resumed at 19:52 and Janolian being brought up to the quay and safely berthed on the pontoons. The lifeboat was rehoused and ready again for service by 21:30.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind SE3 Sea Smooth

Latest News

150th anniversary vellum

Wed 17 Jul 2019

150th anniversary sail past in the quay

150th anniversary sail past in the quay

Flotilla in quay... (l-r) Shannon, Liverpool, Oakley, Mersey and D-class

Flotilla in quay... (l-r) Shannon, Liverpool, Oakley, Mersey and D-class

Wells Lifeboat celebrated its 150th anniversary as an RNLI station this week. The town has had a lifeboat from around 1830 and became a Royal National Lifeboat Institution station in 1869, with a new lifeboat, the Eliza Adams being delivered by rail and placed on service in a new specially built boathouse on the quay (now used as the harbour office).

The anniversary was marked by a week of events including a week-long exhibition at the Maltings and a presentation and open day on 13th July. The RNLI's Chief Executive Mark Dowie presented the station with a 150th anniversary vellum at a presentaion at the boathouse at which award for long serving volunteers were also presented... 20 years for Deputy Second Coxswain Martin Emerson, 40 years for crew member Fred Whitaker and 50 years for tractor driver and emergency mechanic Phil Eaglen. 

Phil joined the crew age 17 in 1967 as a launcher and became, for many years, the station's head tractor driver as well as an emergency mechanic on the all-weather lifeboat crew. Now past normal retirement age, he continues to be a mainstay of the station assisting the full-time Coxswain/mechanic during the transition to the new Shannon station.

After the presentation, the station was opened to the public with historic lifeboats on view on the outer harbour pontoons. These were joined by a relief Shannon class lifeboat (the type that will soon serve at Wells) kindly brought round from Lowestoft by Lowestoft Coxswain John Fox and a volunteer crew.

Five lifeboats, spanning some 78 years, then sailed together up to the quay... the current station  Mersey class Doris M Mann of Ampthill and our inshore lifeboat Peter Wilcox, single-screw Liverpool class Lucy Lavers, built 1940 and a Dunkirk Little Ship which served on relief at Wells in 1963/64, Oakley class Enerst Tom Neathercoat Wells station boat from 1965 to 1990 and the Shannon 13-26 John Metters. A large crowd greeted the boats at the quay with a commentary kindly provided by the harbour master.

See all news...

Xmas Carol Service at Wells Lifeboat

Carol Service

Join us at the boathouse for our annual Christmas carol service this Sunday 15 December, starting at 6.30pm, with Fakenham Town Band and Wells Churches Together. This event is open to all... crew, supporters and families as well as residents and visitors to the town. Refreshments will be available afterwards. If you've not been before, please be sure to dress warmly and allow time to get across the beach to the boathouse from the car park. Car parking at the Beach Road is free for the event courtesy of the Holkham Estate and crew members will be on-hand to help people across the beach if needed.

Shannon Latest

Planning permission has been granted for a new lifeboat station at Wells to house our forthcoming Shannon-class all weather lifeboat but legal work relating to the new site has taken longer than expected and we are now hoping that building work will be able to start in Spring 2020. This will take around 18 months to complete so our new Shannon-class lifeboat should then come into service late in 2021.

Funding for the new lifeboat was raised in part with a station appeal for £250,000 in 2014-15 and also by the Civil Service charity The Lifeboat Fund with its 150th Anniversary Appeal. We are hugely grateful to everyone who has donated, fund-raised, helped and supported us both locally and across the UK and even further afield. Your contribution is appreciated and will help to save lives and keep our volunteeer crews safe in the years to come. Read more about the station appeal

Exercise Launches

Our next scheduled exercise launches are shown below. You are welcome to come and watch the lifeboats launch on the beach at the front of the lifeboat house... but please ensure you keep well to one side and that children are supervised. Exercises may be cancelled or rescheduled at short notice due to operational reasons.

Thursday 28 November 17:30
Regular exercise

Sunday 29 December 09:00
Low water recovery on Holkham beach

Thursday 9 January 17:00
Regular exercise

Thursday 23 January 17:00
Regular exercise

Sunday 2 February 09:30
Regular exercise

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity, registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). This website is managed and maintained by local volunteers at Wells-next-the-Sea Lifeboat Station and is not the main RNLI site. All text and images copyright (C)2005-2019 RNLI Wells Lifeboat Station, or as indicated, and may not be downloaded, copied or reproduced elsewhere without prior permission of the station or the relevant copyright holder. Site Manager