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 September 2017

Both lifeboats responded to a Mayday call from a 24' bilge keel yacht Spirit which had lost power and run aground whilst entering Wells Harbour. The yacht, with one person onboard, had run aground close to No 1 buoy and was believed to be taking on water. The inshore lifeboat launched on the incoming tide outside the boathouse at 19:41 and proceeded down the channel, crossing the harbour bar and rendezvoused with the casualty. As a precaution, the all-weather lifeboat also left the boathouse and proceeded to the low water launch site in Holkham bay. The ILB arrived alongside at 19:52 and placed a crew member on board before ascertaining that the yacht was not taking on water and passing a towline. With the tow connected, the casualty was successfully re-floated at 20:06. The ILB then proceeded inwards on the first of the tide while the all-weather lifeboat returned to station. At 21:15 the ILB transferred the tow to the Wells harbour launch in the vicinity of the fleets to be taken to the pontoons at Wells quay. The ILB then returned to station and was rehoused and refuelled at 21:55.

Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind S 3 Sea Slight

Speedwell in tow, 18 September 2017

Tug Speedwell with two barges, under tow, 18 September 2017 FW

18 September 2017

Wells Lifeboat was paged at 16:33 to assist the 19m tug Speedwell with two barges of 23m and 30m in tow. The tug, on passage south from the Humber, had reported steering issues in difficult sea conditions in a position approximately 12nm north of Wells. Relief lifeboat 12-005 launched outside the boathouse at 16:56 and met up with the casualty, which was making around 6kn with the tide, at 17:33, some 5nm north of Blakeney. Given rough conditions on Wells bar and the nature of the casualty, particularly the two large unmanned vessels in tow, it was deemed too dangerous to attempt entry to Wells. Options to turnaround and head back to the Humber against wind and tide or to seek shelter in Holkham bay were also dismissed. The lifeboat therefore took Speedwell in tow towards Great Yarmouth, adding 2kn to the speed and relieving pressure on the vessel's steering. With the casualty in better conditions off Cromer by 20:30, the lifeboat's own spare hydraulic oil was transferred across to assist with the steering issue and the tow released to enable Speedwell to continue her journey south under her own power. Wells lifeboat returned for a low water recovery on Holkham beach at 22:17 and was re-housed, refuelled and ready for service by midnight.

Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind NW 4-5 Sea Moderate-Rough

20 August 2017

During the station's open day, the inshore lifeboat was launched not to the planned public demonstration but to assist a group of people on the west side sands who it could be seen from the boathouse would shortly be cut off by the incoming tide. The lifeboat was then tasked by UK Coastguard to similar incidents at Brancaster golf club and Titchwell and, on its return, to a further group cut off at Wells. In just over two hours, the lifeboat assisted 22 people and one dog in 6 separate incidents.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind SW 2 Sea Slight

30 July 2017

Both the all-weather and inshore lifeboats were attending a lifeboat festival at Wells quayside when a motor vehicle was observed to enter the water at the yacht club slipway and sink rapidly. Informing UK Coastguard of the situation, the inshore lifeboat was tasked at 12:48 to attend and to ascertain whether there were any persons trapped in the submerged vehicle. On arrival the crew were advised that the occupant was safe but remained on scene to assist the harbour staff to connect a tow rope to the vehicle for recovery. On completion of the recovery the ILB returned to station and was re-housed, re-fuelled and ready for service at 14:20.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind SW 2 Sea Slight

29 July 2017

UK Coastguard requested the launch of the inshore lifeboat at 12:53 to locate and assist an overdue dinghy at Burnham Overy. A family member had raised concerns following the late return of the dinghy. The crew were paged at 12:56 but the launched was cancelled at 13:02 after the local Coastguard Rescue Team relayed that the dinghy and occupant had been found safely ashore.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind SW 2 Sea Slight

20 July 2017

While towing the Sabena H towards Wells on the previous service, UK Coastguard launched the Skegness all-weather lifeboat to assist the 22' yacht Mera Monte which was on passage from Great Yarmouth to Newcastle. The outboard engine had failed, the sail halyard become jammed and the vessel had lost VHF communications. After a search assisted by a nearby commercial vessel, Skegness Lifeboat located the yacht some 7nm north of Wells and took her in tow towards Wells as the nearest refuge. Having handed the Sabena H to the Frank T, Wells lifeboat proceeded to meet up with the Skegness boat and took over the tow, heading briskly back to enter the harbour at the tail end of the ebb. The lifeboat arrived in the outer harbour at 19:40 and the yacht was safely moored on the pontoons. The lifeboat was re-housed, re-fuelled and ready for service at 21:00.

Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind W 3-4 Sea Slight

Latest News

Alex Ellis-Roswell calls in at Wells

Thr 7 Sep 2017

Alex arrives at Wells lifeboat station

Alex arrives at Wells lifeboat station

Alex with the crew at the boathouse

Alex with the crew at the boathouse

Alex Ellis-Roswell called in at Wells lifeboat station on Tuesday evening where he was welcomed by members of the crew along with chairman Peter Rainsford and Operations Manager Chris Hardy. Alex has spent the past 3 years walking the entire coast of Britain and Ireland raising money for the RNLI. He's on the home stretch now, having walked around 9000 miles since starting setting out from Margate in Kent in August 2014 but still has 500 miles or so left to go.

His epic journey has so far raised over £60,000 for the RNLI and Alex arrived in Wells at dusk having walked from Hunstanton, with a further £66 in his RNLI collection bucket.

We are hugely grateful for his support for the lifeboats and wish him the best in the final weeks of his walk. Our thanks too to those who helped with Alex's bags and lifts and to Ben and Imelda for putting him up.

You can follow and support Alex on Facebook


or on Twitter


or make a donation at


Do say hello if you see Alex on his way down through Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, London and Kent. He'd also be grateful if anyone could help with putting him up along the route...please message him on Facebook. 

See all news...

Wells Shannon
Lifeboat Appeal
target reached!

After 17 months fund-raising, we reached our target to raise £250,000 towards a new Shannon-class lifeboat for Wells and the North Norfolk coast.

We are hugely grateful to everyone who has donated, fund-raised, helped and supported us both locally and from right 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 appeal

And here's just some of the people and events that helped to make it happen... thank you page

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)2005-2014 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