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.
As it was close to low water, both the inshore and all-Weather lifeboats left the Boathouse at 21:16 and proceeded along the beach toward the casualty. The inshore lifeboat identified the boat with its navigation lights on and arrived on scene at 21:36 to find the yacht hard aground and beam-on to the beach. The tide was receding fast and the ILB crew were able to take the skipper and his crew off the stranded yacht and transfer them to the local Coastguard unit. Although wet, cold and tired they were able to go to the Lifeboat Station and were offered shelter for the night. In the interim the ILB crew rigged the yacht's anchor to seaward.
During the grounding, the yacht had been subject to a lot of wave action and had frequently taken the bottom heavily and awkwardly, and it was uncertain if the wooden vessel had sustained hull or keel damage. With the anchor out to secure the boat and the next high water at 04:00, it was decided to return in daylight to assess the situation with a view to refloat the yacht and bring it under tow of the all-Weather lifeboat into Wells on the afternoon’s high tide. Both lifeboats left the scene at 22:50 and were rehoused by 23:30.
When the crew returned to the scene on Saturday morning they discovered that the yacht had not refloated on the morning's tide and the hull had broken up in the heavy seas and surf conditions, scattering the boat's contents along the tide line.
The lifeboat crew were able to recover the inboard fuel tanks and batteries to minimise the risks of pollution. The life raft was also landed ashore into safe keeping and the crew helped in clearing the beach of debris. They then returned to the boat house at 11:00 to wash down and clean both Lifeboats and the launch and recovery vehicles.
Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind NE5 Sea Slight-Moderate
At 11:02 the ILB landed the two casualties safely into the care of the waiting Coastguards who then took them back to the accommodation locally where they were staying. The ILB then returned to the dinghy, which was by this time well up the beach on the ebbing tide, bailed it out and secured it with an anchor for recovery on the following morning’s high tide. The ILB departed a 11:45 and was rehoused, refuelled and ready again for service at 12:30.
Weather Overcast Visibility Good Wind SE4 Sea Slight
Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind NW3 Sea Slight
After discussion and taking the weather conditions into account, it was decided the best course of action was to focus on re-floating the yacht on the afternoon tide on Friday 6th March. The skipper of the yacht keen to be reunited with his boat spent the night getting some rest at Wells boathouse.
On the Friday morning at first light, it was ascertained that the yacht had moved a half mile to the East on the morning high tide but was still firmly aground. The priority was to make sure that the boat had not been damaged during the grounding and to run out an anchor to seaward to aid the re-floating attempts in the afternoon.
To achieve this the ILB crew were paged at 09:15 and launched in Holkham Bay at low water 09:57. The lifeboat arrived on scene at 10:20 and started to assess the situation. At 11:15 with all in order and an anchor deployed, the ILB left the scene and returned to Station, arriving at 11:43.
Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind NW3 Sea Slight
Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind SSW4 Sea Slight
Weather Cloudy Visibility Good Wind WNW3 Sea Slight
Wells lifeboats and the lifeboat crew remain operational and ready to launch if needed during the Corona Virus outbreak. However, training and exercises and all public visits to the lifeboat station are cancelled.
We were delighted to offer UK charity walker Beth Wickes a cup of tea and some encouragement at the boathouse when she popped in while walking the coast path from Titchwell to Wells today.
Beth has been walking much of the UK coast along with some inland long distance paths for the past year and a half, having started from Tower lifeboat station in London in October 2018. She is walking unsupported, taking some time out to explore Britain after graduating from Uni and raising some money for the RNLI, Lowland Search and Rescue and Mountain Rescue teams on her way.
Beth is currently completing her adventure by following the coast down through Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex before aiming to finish in London in May by which time she will have walked around 3500 miles. She is setting off for Cley next and then plans to arrive in Cromer on 12th.
Donations to Beth’s charities can be made on her Virgin Money Giving page
Titchwell Manor and The Quay B&B in Wells kindly donated a night's stay for Beth on this leg of her walk and she would be pleased to hear from anyone who might provide overnight accommodation further along her route.
Wells lifeboat met up with Cromer lifeboat on the Docking Shoal, approximately 10 miles North of Wells, during Sunday's practice launch. This was partly to say farewell to long-standing Cromer volunteer Coxswain Ady Woods who is standing down after more than 30 years on the Cromer crew.
Ady joined Cromer lifeboat at 17, at first on the inshore lifeboat and later on the all-weather lifeboat. He took on the role of joint Coxswain with fellow crew -member Ady Barker in 2018.
All at Wells station would like to wish Ady all the best for the future.
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
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.
Exercises and training cancelled until further notice due to COVID-19 restrictions
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