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

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

Volunteer Recruitment Day - 19th October 2019

Mon 7 Oct 2019

Could you join our team? We are looking for new volunteers to join us and are seeking people with a wide range of skills and backgrounds.  If you think we could be for you and you have time to give, we want to hear from you. 

We are seeking operational crew for the lifeboat, shore crew to help launch and recover our lifeboats, deputy launching authorities, fundraisers, a deputy press officer and a community safety officer, to promote safety awareness in the community.  

Soon we'll be taking delivery of a new, state of the art Shannon class lifeboat, which will require additional volunteers to keep her in tip-top condition like our current Mersey Class which has been in service for nearly thirty years and has been involved in more than 150 rescues. There will also be a new boathouse which, apart from housing the lifeboats, will have upgraded facilities for the crew and shore helpers and will allow greater access to the public. It will have its own gift shop which will require additional staff to run it. 

On Saturday, 19 October, we are holding a Volunteer Recruitment Event at the current boathouse at the bottom of Beach Road, Wells-next-the-Sea between 11am and 3pm. Come down and see us, talk to people like you and meet our volunteers... we can tell you what's involved and what's to be gained by becoming part of the Wells Lifeboat Station RNLI family. You don't have to live in Wells' we have a number of volunteers who live quite a long way from the station.

It would help if we know you are coming as we have limited free parking available for the event.  Email us at wells@rnli.org.uk or ring the boathouse on 01328 710230 and we will look forward to welcoming you.

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...

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 September 2019. 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.

Sunday 29 September 09:00
Low water launch in Holkham Bay

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