Wells Lifeboat  RNLI Lifeboats Wells Norfolk UK
Wells Lifeboat

New boathouse build

We've not been able to hold our usual station and Wells RNLI Guild events or meet the public at the lifeboat station this year because of the pandemic. This has made it difficult to chat about our work, share safety messages or fundraise. Yet with so many people visiting Norfolk over the summer, many for the first time, both our lifeboats and our crew have been kept really busy. If you'd like to support the station, please consider a donation to our new RNLI Wells Lifesavers Fund. Donations to this fund will be restricted for use at Wells.

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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.

New boathouse build

We've not been able to hold our usual station and Wells RNLI Guild events or meet the public at the lifeboat station this year because of the pandemic. This has made it difficult to chat about our work, share safety messages or fundraise. Yet with so many people visiting Norfolk over the summer, many for the first time, both our lifeboats and our crew have been kept really busy. If you'd like to support the station, please consider a donation to our new RNLI Wells Lifesavers Fund. Donations to this fund will be restricted for use at Wells.

Recent Services

23 November 2020
15:32

The inshore lifeboat was requested to assist two persons cut off on the marshes at Burnham Overy Staithe. Already two and half hours after high water, the ILB launched at 15:44 from outside the boathouse amid concerns that there may be insufficent tide left at Overy. The lifeboat entered Overy harbour at 15:55 but was soon running out of water and it was obvious, even with the crew walking the boat, that it could not reach the casualties' position. In the interim, the local coastguard team had arrived and located the persons across the harbour channel opposite Burnham Overy boathouse. It was agreed, with the persons in no immediate danger, that the lifeboat would turn around and the coastguard and casualties would wait for the tide to drop sufficiently for them to be able to cross the creek. The lifeboat left the scene at 16:02 and returned to Wells. The two persons, with assistance from the coastguard, were safely back on the mainland at 16:40.

Weather Fine Visibility Moderate Wind SSW3 Sea Slight

20 November 2020
18:50

Humber coastguard paged the inshore lifeboat to assist a 23' motor cruiser Zantara in difficulty off Wells. The vessel, with three persons and a dog on-board, was on passage to Wells and had at some stage tied up to the harbour West Cardinal while waiting for the evening tide. In doing so, the boat had started to yaw and roll and take on water in the seaway, leading the crew to contact the emergency services and report they were in danger of capsizing and sinking. The ILB launched from the boathouse on the first of the tide at 19:08 and, arriving on scene, ascertained that the vessel, no longer made off to the buoy, was not in danger and all on-board were safe. At 19.50, both boats proceeded slowly into the harbour on the incoming tide, safely crossing the bar. The cruiser was moored in the outer harbour at 20.15 where it was met by coatguard and emergency services teams. The ILB left the scene at 20:38 and was washed down, rehoused and refuelled by 21:10.

Weather Overcast Visibility Moderate Wind SW4 Sea Slight-Moderate

Wells inshore lifeboat launching at daybreak in heavy rain to join the search

Wells inshore lifeboat launching at daybreak in heavy rain to join the search, 15/10/20

15 November 2020
07:09

At daybreak, the inshore lifeboat joined an on-going large scale search for a missing windsurfer. Wells' all-weather lifeboat had been at sea since the previous evening, with Hunstanton and Skegness lifeboats and coastguard helicopter and aircraft also searching. The ILB launched in heavy rain and searched close to the beach and shore from Wells through to Thornham in the west, returning to the lifeboat station to refuel and change crew, before conducting a shoreline search east down to Blakeney. With nothing found, the ILB was stood down and was refuelled and rehoused by 11:45.

Weather Overcast/rain Visibility Poor Wind SW4-5 Sea Slight-Moderate

Wells lifeboat leaving the outer harbour at 05:55, after refuelling and a crew change

Wells lifeboat leaving the outer harbour at 05:55, after refuelling and a crew change during the search, 15/11/20

14 November 2020
22:36

Wells Lifeboat was requested to join with an on-going search for a missing windsurfer reported overdue from Hunstanton beach around 5pm on Saturday evening. Along with local coastguard and police teams, Hunstanton lifeboat had already searched the immediate area and Skegness lifeboat and a coastguard rescue helicopter had conducted wider searches, the helicopter subsequently being replaced by a fixed wing aircraft. Wells lifeboat left the boathouse at 23:00 for a low water launch off Holkham beach at 23:32. The lifeboat conducted a search west from the near the Bridgirdle buoy off Scolt Head island up as far as the Race Bank windfarm. At 04:15 on Sunday 15th the lifeboat set a course back to Wells to refuel and undertake a crew change on the tide. The lifeboat arrived in the outer harbour at 05:35 and departed at 05:55.

The lifeboat now searched west along the coast from Burnham Overy. The weather deteriorated as daylight arrived with frequent heavy rain squalls from the south reducing visibility at times. At 07:09, Wells inshore lifeboat was also tasked to conduct shoreline searches. The all-weather lifeboat continued to search northwards off the coast and then down and into the Wash, along with Hunstanton and Skegness lifeboats, coastguard helicopter and search aircraft and land-based coastguard, police and lowland search teams, throughout the day. Late in the afternoon and in fading light, the search was suspended with unfortunately still no sighting of the missing person, his board or sail.

The lifeboat arrived back in Wells at 16:40 after 18 hours on service and was recovered, rehoused and refuelled by 18:00. Other lifeboats and aircraft subsequently resumed the search on Monday 16th.

Weather Fine-Overcast/rain Visibility Moderate-Poor Wind SW4-5 Sea Slight-Moderate

28 October 2020
13:19

The inshore lifeboat was paged to assist persons cut off by the tide in Holkham bay but it was reported the party had successfully waded ashore while the crew were assembling. However, as there were several groups of people well down on the foreshore and the tide still incoming, the ILB did a safety sweep of the channel and beach to check all was well.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind SW3 Sea Slight

'Blucher' under tow

'Blucher' under tow in moderate conditions, 8/10/20

Safely back in the quay

Safely back in the quay, 8/10/20

8 October 2020
08:44

Humber Coastguard requested the launch of the all-weather lifeboat initially to a distress call from an unidentified vessel some 13 nautical miles north of Wells. The vessel turned out to be a local fishing vessel 'Blucher' with engine failure and electrical problems. Wells lifeboat launched from the boathouse, reaching the 'Blucher' which had anchored, an hour later at 10:00. A windfarm service vessel had stood by the 'Blucher' in case of further difficulty while awaiting the lifeboat. With a tow rigged, the lifeboat headed back through moderate conditions towards Wells, arriving at the harbour entrance at 11.43. Once safely inside the harbour, 'Blucher' was taken up to the quay and safely moored alongside by 12:20 before the lifeboat was recovered, refuelled and rehoused.

Weather Overcast/rain Visibility Good Wind SW5 veering NW Sea Moderate

24 September 2020
14:22

The inshore lifeboat was called out to rescue 2 persons in the water after their 4m inflatable dinghy capsized in the approaches to Blakeney harbour while they were fishing for mackerel. They were in danger of being swept out to sea on the ebbing tide. The ILB launched outside the boathouse at 14:30 and proceeded to the casualties' last known position at Blakney harbour entrance. The 2 persons were spotted at 14:46 and had fortunately managed to scramble onto the upturned hull of their boat which was, by this time, already three-quarters of a mile offshore on the outgoing tidal set and offshore wind. Arriving alongside at 14:51, the lifeboat ascertained that, apart from being exhausted, wet and very cold from being in the sea, the persons did not require any immediate medical assistance. The lifeboat took them onboard and rigged up a tow to their boat. By 15:05 the lifeboat and tow were inside the harbour and proceeded toward Morston creek. The lifeboat landed the 2 persons at 15:20 into the care of the local coastguard team and made sure their dinghy was safely ashore at Morston hard. With no further help needed, the lifeboat was released from the scene and returned to the boathouse at 15:25. It was washed down, refuelled and ready again for service by 16:30.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind SW4 Sea Slight

Latest News

Work starts on new boathouse

Mon 14 Sep 2020

Lifeboat crew and management volunteers on the beach at the start of building work

Lifeboat crew and management volunteers on the beach at the start of building workRW

Work begins clearing the site and the base of the beach bank

Work begins clearing the site and the base of the beach bankRW

Work has started on building a new lifeboat station for Wells RNLI at Wells next the Sea. 

Completion is expected in 2022 and the new Wells Shannon class lifeboat, which was part funded by a successful local campaign in 2014-2015 and part by the Civil Service charity The Lifeboat Fund, will arrive in Wells shortly afterwards.

The new, bigger boathouse is required to house the Shannon class lifeboat which will replace the now 30 year old current Mersey Class lifeboat 12-003 Doris M Mann of Ampthill. With the RNLI's newest, purpose-built Shannon lifeboat, the rescue service provided by the volunteer crew at Wells will be using the best equipment available to make their job safer, faster and more effective. The boathouse will be located beside the beach bank near the Beach Café and the Coastwatch hut and will replace the old boathouse which is more than 125 years old. 

The RNLI and Wells Lifeboat Station will be working closely with the contractors, JT Mackley and Reside Construction, the Port of Wells and Holkham Estate to ensure that safe access to the beach and the car park is maintained for members of the public throughout the project. Regular updates will be posted on our website as well as being signposted at the beach car park, the Beach Cafe and Pinewoods. We will be posting images and reports of the progress of the project on a new boathouse build page.

Please get in touch via our contact form or by e-mail if you have any queries relating to the project.

See all news...

Boathouse Build

New boathouse build

Building work is progressing well on our new boathouse. See news story below for more information or view photo gallery.

The new building will will take around 18 months to complete with work preparing the foundations and piling for the building and ramp scheduled to take place from September 2020 to May 2021.

The building is required to house our forthcoming new Shannon-class lifeboat which was funded 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

COVID-19 restrictions

Wells lifeboats and the lifeboat crew remain operational and ready to launch if needed during the coronavirus outbreak. New procedures have been adopted during service calls, training and exercises to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus. For example, crews muster outside the boathouse before a service call and only those selected remain on station and boats, equipment and the boathouse are cleaned and sanitised after use.

All public visits to the lifeboat station are cancelled. Please do not enter the boathouse except by prior arrangement.

All our usual public and fund-raising events and activities over the year have also had to be cancelled, including our annual lifeboat service and our open day and open evenings. We're sorry not to be able to meet and chat with you as we usually do and thank you for your support during these difficult times.

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.

Training exercises are taking place at the moment, having been suspended during the summer, but typically with the inshore and all-weather lifeboats exercising separately with pre-chosen crews only when the situation allows. Because of this, we are sorry but we are unable to show exercise dates in advance at the moment.

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