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

17 June 2018

Wells Inshore Lifeboat was paged at 06:01 on Sunday morning to assist in the search for a male in his 70s who had gone missing the previous evening while walking in the area of Titchwell beach and marshes. Local coastguard teams from Wells and Hunstanton had, with the assistance of the Search and Rescue helicopter and Hunstanton Lifeboat, searched the coastal region extensively on Saturday evening into the early hours. The ILB was requested to search into the creeks and marshes on the flooding tide.

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

9 June 2018

UK Coastguard requested the launch of Wells Lifeboat just after 4pm to assist a 10m fishing boat Mia Blue with steering failure. The crew were paged and the boat launched at 16:26. The Border Force vessel Special Alert also headed out of Blakeney harbour to stand by the casualty until the lifeboat arrived. Just before 5pm, the lifeboat took the fishing boat in tow, taking her safely to her mooring in Blakeney harbour.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind SW 3 Sea Slight

20 April 2018

UK Coastguard paged the inshore lifeboat at 08:04 to assist the local coastguard team in responding to a call from a member of the public who reported hearing a cry for help in the marshes at Burnham Overy Staithe. The crew were paged and launched at 08:13 and were on scene at 08:30. The crew commenced a thorough search of the creeks and marsh and the Coastguard helicopter arrived on scene at 09:00 to search the landside of Scolt Head island and the Gun Hill areas. At 09:30 with nothing found the inshore lifeboat was stood down and returned to station at 09:50.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind WNW 3 Sea Slight

29 March 2018

At 16:40 UK Coastguard requested an inshore lifeboat launch to assist 2 persons and a dog seen by National Coastwatch to be cut off by the incoming tide between Holkham and Wells. The ILB launched at 16:55 and proceeded to the reported location where no persons were found. The lifeboat continued to search in the vicinity and then proceeded to the beach to rendezvous with local Coastguard units. UK Coastguard requested another search of the foreshore and when satisfied that no people were requiring assistance the inshore lifeboat was stood down and returned to the boathouse at 17:15

Weather Fair Visibility Good Wind SW 2 Sea Calm

22 February 2018

A request was received at 21.50 from UK Coastguard to launch to assist the 32' Wells-based fishing vessel Ma Freen with three crew that had broken down 15 miles offshore near the Sheringham Shoal windfarm. The crew were paged at 21:53 and the ALB launched in front of the boathouse at 22.13. Arriving alongside at 23.23, a tow was attached and passage began back to Wells harbour. Arriving at the entrance at 02:00, three hours after high water, it was only possible to get the casualty into the lower reaches of the channel but with the forecast being good with light winds it was decided to anchor the Ma Freen to await the next tide. Leaving the three crew on-board, the lifeboat departed at 02:10 to the low water recovery site in Holkham Bay. The lifbeoat was re-housed, re-fuelled and ready for service at 04:20. The casualty vessel later effected repairs sufficient to make her own way up to the quay on the next flood tide.

Weather Fair Visibility Good Wind E 2-3 Sea Moderate

14 January 2018

Reports were received of a person observed walking about on the marsh at 15.15 with an incoming tide and failing light. UK Coastguard requested the launch of the inshore lifeboat which proceeded via the town quay into the marsh. Failing light made it difficult to see using the cctv cameras and observation from vantage points also proved difficult. The ILB landed crew members onto the march from where they could see better and the Coastguard Search and Rescue team began an edge of marsh search at Warham Greens. At 16.20 the Coastguard team located one person coming safely off the marsh at Garden Drove and it was considered that he was the same person that had been sighted earlier. A possible new target had been observed from Wells boathouse in the vicinity of Boat Creek and the ILB proceeded to that location but it was concluded that there was no person there. The lifeboat was re-housed, re-fuelled and ready for service at 17.30.

Weather Overcast Visibility 1-3 miles Wind NE 1 Sea Calm

ALB launch, 3 January 2018

Recovery of the lifeboat, 3 January 2018

3 January 2018

The lifeboat was requested to launch by UK Coastguard to assist in the recovery of the 27ft fishing vessel Valkyrie which had broken her moorings in Brancaster harbour. There was concern that the recovery operation might prove hazardous and the lifeboat was tasked to stand by and to render assistance if required.

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

Latest News

Lifeboats launch for Allen Frary's last exercise

Sat 24 Mar 2018

Allen at the helm with a boat-full of crew on his last exercise before retirement

Allen at the helm with a boat-full of crew on his last exercise before retirement

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.

Coxswain Allen Frary to retire

Mon 26 Feb 2018

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

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Shannon Latest

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