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.

150th Anniversary Celebration

Wells Lifeboat station celebrates 150 years as an RNLI Lifeboat station this week.

Our 150th anniversary exhibition 'The Lifeboat Story' is also at the Maltings all day - free entry, drop in any time between 11am and 4pm.

For information about other events, see the listing on the right or the downloadable posters below.

Latest News

A thank you to Wells volunteers...

Fri 12 Jul 2019

The RNLI has shared this video on Facebook and Twitter thanking the men and women who have volunteered at Wells over the years...


Exhibition opens at the Maltings

Fri 12 Jul 2019

Open at the Maltings from 11-4, free entry

Open at the Maltings from 11-4, free entry

Campbell MacCallum's unique and touching photographs of the station

Campbell MacCallum's unique and touching photographs of the station

Busy on opening and preview night...

Busy on opening and preview night...

Our 150th anniversary exhibition - The Lifeboat Story - opened at the Maltings on Staithe Street, Wells on Wednesday night.

The exhibition features photographs, paintings and memorabilia celebrating over 150 years of life-saving in the town, looks at present day volunteering with the RNLI and features a fine retrospective of Campbell MacCallum's photographs of the station. Campbell who made his name as a commercial photographer in London's swinging sixties spent over five decades photographing the boats and crew at Wells lifeboat station and his candid and sharply observed black-and-white photographs form an intimate record of life at the station.

The exhibition is open every day upstairs at the Maltings from 11am until 4pm until Tuesday 16th July and admission is free. If you visit, please also be sure to visit the Maltings' superb heritage display which has more on the town's lifeboats and history.

Lifeguards return to Norfolk beaches

Sun 7 Jul 2019

RNLI lifeguards have returned to North Norfolk beaches for the summer season this weekend. The beach at Wells along with Sheringham East, West Runton, East Runton and Cromer West will be patrolled from 10am to 6pm daily until Sunday 8 September. Lifeguards have already been patrolling at Sheringham West, Cromer East, Mundesley and Sea Palling since late May. 

Run by arrangement with the local council, the lifeguard service provides everything from safety advice and tide times to helping locate missing children and dealing with emergencies. Beachgoers are encouraged to heed their advice and to swim only between the red and yellow flags.

150th anniversary team photograph

19 May 2019

150th anniversary team photograph

150th anniversary team photographChris Taylor

Volunteer crew, guild members, station personnel and former crew members gathered outside Wells boathouse for a photograph to celebrate our 150th anniversary as an RNLI lifeboat station.

The photograph, taken by local photographer and Sheringham crew member Chris Taylor, echoes previous images of the station going back to 1993 when the late Campbell MacCallum assembled boats and crew outside the boathouse to create an image to display inside the crew room. Campbell's picture was adapted as a poster by the RNLI and was reproduce worldwide and let to a regular tradition of team posters taken at stations around the UK.

The 150th annivesary is being marked with a week of activities from 11th to 16th July centred around an open day on 13th July where a vellum will be presented by the RNLI to the station and current and historic lifeboats will sail in a flotilla up to the quay.

See all news...

Recent Services

Big Old Cat under tow, 7 July 2019

Bringing the power boat Big Old Cat into harbour, 7 July 2019 RW

7 July 2019

The all-weather lifeboat was paged at 10.40 to assist a 40ft power boat Big Old Cat with one failed engine and loss of steering some 8 miles north-west of Wells. The boat, with two persons on board, was on passage from the Humber to Wells. The lifeboat launched at 10.51 and arrived alongside the casualty at 11.28 where a crew member was transferred aboard to rig up a tow. The lifeboat arrived at Wells fairway at 12:15 where the tow was shortened up to assist entering the harbour against a strong ebb. Once safely in the harbour channel, the Big Old Cat was brought alongside the lifeboat and then safely tied up at the Outer Harbour pontoons at 12:55. The lifeboat returned to station and was rehoused and made ready for service by 13:15.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind NW3 Sea Slight

6 July 2019

The inshore lifeboat was paged to assist a 5m Sea Rider RIB with 4 persons on board approaching Wells. The boat had called 999 after their engine failed amid breaking seas on the bar. Launching at 10.15, the ILB quickly established a tow and brought the craft into the harbour.

Weather Cloudy Visibility Good Wind SW3 Sea Slight

3 July 2019

The inshore lifeboat was requested to launch after reports of two swimmers potentially in a difficult situation some way off the beach to the west of the harbour entrance channel, who had been seen by the the Wells Ferry harbour trip boat. As the ILB launched, no-one could be seen in difficulty from the boathouse and a local report suggested the swimmers may have regained the beach. The ILB performed a sweep of the beach and then proceeded west along the shore line, finding and having a brief chat with the two persons who were indeed back safe and well on-shore. The boat then returned to station.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind W2 Sea Slight

24 June 2019

The inshore lifeboat was paged to assist the yacht Blue Celeste on passage from Holland back to its home berth in Wells. A crew member had sustained a back injury having fallen in the galley during the night. The ILB launched at 08:18 and arrived at the casualty at 08:24. A crew member boarded the yacht to assess the situation and it was decided to give first aid and make the casualty as comfortable as possible where they were, while the yacht was escorted into harbour and up to the quay and onward transport was arranged to take them to hospital. The yacht was safely moored with assistance of local coastguard at 09:12 and the casualty departed for hospital.

Weather Cloudy Visibility Good Wind S2 Sea Slight

15 June 2019

The inshore lifeboat was paged to assist a broken down RIB at Brancaster with one person aboard and one or more persons ashore within the harbour or on Scolt Head island. As the crew prepared to launch, Humber coastguard asked them to stand-by as the RIB reported it had been able to restart its engine. With no assistance required, the crew were stood down at 17:50.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind SW2 Sea Slight

150th Anniversary

Wells Lifeboat is celebrating 150 years as an RNLI station this year with a week of events around the station and town...

13th July Open Day

Exhibition at Maltings
Open 11am-4pm, free entry

Historic Lifeboats on display
Outer Harbour, 11am-3.30pm

Presentation Ceremony
A private presentation by invite only at the boathouse, 12noon-1.30pm

Boathouse open
Come look round the lifeboat station and meet the crew, refreshments on sale, 2pm-4.15pm

Lifeboat Flotilla
Past, present and future lifeboats sail from the outer harbour to Wells quayside, passing the harbour office before returning to the boathouse. View from the beach bank or the main quay, free (donations welcome). 4.30pm-5.15pm. The current all-weather lifeboat and inshore lifeboat will be recovered and rehoused from around 5.30pm and can be viewed from the beach-end of the beach bank.

Volunteers' supper
Invited guests, 7pm.


Exhibition at the Maltings
11th-16th July, 11-4
The RNLI in Wells past and present, photographs and exhibits, free entry

Launch and preview
Wednesday 10th July, 5.30pm
Evening preview of our exhibition

Saving Lives at Sea
Thursday 11th July, 7pm-9pm
Episodes of the BBC TV series and discussion with Wells RNLI crew members. Tickets £5 from the Maltings

Fish & Chip supper
with the Wild Rovers

Friday 12th July, 7.30pm
Fish, chips and shanties with the Wild Rovers at Wells Sailing Club. Tickets £12 from the Maltings.

Open day and flotilla
Saturday 13th July
Lifeboats on display 11am to 3.30pm, flotilla to quay 4.30pm-5.15pm, boathouse open to public 2pm-4.15pm, private presentation of 150th anniversary vellum by invitation at the boathouse from 12noon-1.30pm.

The Perfect Storm
Monday 15th July, 7pm
Film screening at the Maltings, tickets £5 from the Maltings

Lifeboat Dinner
Tuesday 16th July, 7pm
A celebatory dinner at the Crown Hotel on the Buttlands. Tickets £35 from the Crown Hotel.

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.

Saturday 13 July 14:30
Both boats launching for 150th anniversary flotilla

Thursday 18 July TBC
Afternoon and evening training
ILB capsize practice

Saturday 28 July 14:00
Regular exercise

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