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
As we approach the first weekend since changes to government advice on travel and exercise in the UK, RNLI Wells Lifeboat Station is issuing safety advice to those who might be planning to visit the north Norfolk coast.
Nobody would choose to put themselves at risk but sometimes, lack of awareness of local risks or of their own capabilities can lead visitors to a situation where they need help from the emergency services and others.
The RNLI’s aim is to maintain an effective lifesaving service throughout the Covid 19 pandemic but it must be acknowledged that any call on our services will cause our crew to take extra risks because they may not be able to maintain safe distancing while trying to save a life or offer assistance to a casualty.
We therefore want to take all possible steps to ensure that the public are aware of the risks to themselves and to others and are also aware of the ways to keep safe around our shores. As the “lockdown” is eased, many will be keen to drive to the coast to exercise more freely. This increased activity will bring an increase in the possibility of something unexpectedly going wrong.
Our message to anyone who may choose to come to the north Norfolk coast this weekend is:
Some harbours will be open for leisure boating activity. Wells Harbour has issued 'Key Points to Harbour use' on their website www.wellsharbour.co.uk and will update this regularly; please read before making plans. If you are thinking of going afloat, please inform others of your intentions in advance, make sure that your boat is in good, safe working order and do not venture beyond the safe limits of your vessel’s capabilities and the experience of you and your crew – At all times be extra cautious.
In any coastal emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.
The crews of the Wells lifeboats thank you for helping them to keep everyone safe.
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.
As government restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic are eased from Wednesday 13 May, RNLI Wells lifeboat station has issued some advice for visitors returning to the North Norfolk coast or planning to get afloat in local harbours... Please read
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. Our usual public and fund-raising events and activities are also on-hold at the moment and may not take place as planned.
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