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.
Launching at 06:22, the ILB arrived on scene at 06:56, entering into the marshes at Titchwell drain and carrying out an extensive search of the creeks in conjunction with the local coastguard, as well as making a sweep into Thornham and Brancaster. At 9:41 the ILB was stood down and returned to station and was refuelled and ready again for service at 10:45.
The search meanwhile continued with the addition of coastguard teams from Cromer and Sheringham along with USAR, Norfolk police with dedicated POLSA (Police Search Adviser), specialist search dogs and Norfolk Lowland Search and Rescue. A sighting of the missing person called in by a member of the public, an image captured by an animal camera trap placed in the bird reserve and footprints found by Wells ILB during the morning's search helped to focus the search on an area of dense reed bed at the southern edge of the marsh.
At 14:35 a police drone located the casualty in the reeds, trapped in mud and water but alive. The drone helped to guide Coastguard and USAR rescue team to his position where he was extracted onto an inflatable sledge. He was then winched to safety by the Search and Rescue helicopter and subsequently taken to hospital by the East Anglian Air Ambulance.
Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind SW 3 Sea Slight
Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind SW 3 Sea Slight
Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind WNW 3 Sea Slight
Weather Fair Visibility Good Wind SW 2 Sea Calm
Weather Fair Visibility Good Wind E 2-3 Sea Moderate
Weather Overcast Visibility 1-3 miles Wind NE 1 Sea Calm
The All Weather Lifeboat launched in front of the boathouse at 19.10 and proceeded towards Brancaster. The boat arrived at the harbour entrance at 19:40 and then entered the harbour to locate the stranded vessel. The lifeboat stood by and had comms with the skipper onboard the Valkyrie, ascertaining that the casualty was hard aground and there was little opportunity to refloat the vessel on the already fast ebbing tide. At 20:20 the two persons onboard departed the casualty vessel in a tender and proceeded back to Brancaster hard. Once they were safely ashore and with little chance to render further assistance, the lifeboat was released to return to Wells. The lifeboat arrrived back in Wells at 21:12 and was rehoused and ready again for service by 22:30.
Weather Squally Visibility Moderate Wind W 4-6 Sea Moderate
Coxswain Allen Frary took Wells Lifeboat to sea today for his last exercise prior to his retirement after 42 years on the crew, 21 as Coxswain.
The boat made several crew changes in the outer harbour so that crew, launchers, station personnel and guests could all come aboard. VIPs included station Vice President Sarah, Countess of Leicester, Tom Hill, MOD Chairman of the Civil Service Lifeboat Fund (which has so generously raised funds towards the station's forthcoming Shannon lifeboat), as well as old friends and former colleagues from the RNLI.
Wells Mersey class lifeboat and D-class inshore lifeboat were joined off Wells by Sheringham Lifeboat and Cromer Lifeboat who cruised along the coast from their stations to give Allen a fitting send-off.
After recovery, a celebration was held at the Golden Fleece pub on the quayside which kindly provided drinks and a splendid buffet. Our thanks to all who came and helped to make this a special day and our best wishes to Allen for his retirement.
Allen has served as a member of the Wells lifeboat crew for 42 years and has been coxswain/mechanic for 21 years. He has received numerous commendations, including one for the rescue of the Dutch sailing vessel Albatros off Bob Hall's Sands and a velum award for rescuing a yacht caught on Wells Bar inheavy weather. Thanks in no small part to Allen's work, the station has sufficient well-trained personnel to cover his duties until his replacement is appointed. This was recently put to the test when he suffered a serious injury to his back and was confined to quarters for 18 weeks. Allen has made a full recovery and is looking forward to a long and active retirement.
The crew and volunteers thanked him for his service and wished him all the best for a happy retirement.
Operations Manager Chris Hardy said, "Nothing was ever too difficult for Allen. Through his time spent at sea, he can turn his hand to anything. It has been widely recognised within the RNLI, that how he maintained our Mersey class Lifeboat in such a pristine condition, set the standard which was the model for other Lifeboat Stations to follow. He is an excellent seafarer, leader of men, a great ambassador for the Institution and a natural public speaker. It has been a real privilege to work with him and I wish him every happiness in retirement."
Chairman Peter Rainsford said, "In the various roles that I have undertaken at Wells Lifeboat my work has been made easier and more enjoyable by Allen's guidance and support. He has set a gold standard for the Coxswain/Mechanic's job and has earned great respect around the coast not only for himself but also for the RNLI Wells Lifeboat Station."Interview on ITV Anglia news 9/3/18
A planning application has been submitted for the new lifeboat station to house our forthcoming Shannon-class all weather lifeboat. You can view the plans at the council's offices in Cromer or on-line on the North Norfolk District Council website.
Funding for the new lifeboat was raised in part with a station appeal for £250,000 in 2014-15 and in part 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
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