Wells Lifeboat  RNLI Lifeboats Wells Norfolk UK
Wells Lifeboat

New boathouse build

We've not been able to hold our usual station and RNLI Wells Guild events or welcome the public to the lifeboat station because of the pandemic but both lifeboats and our volunteer crew have been kept busy. If you'd like to support the station, please consider a donation to our RNLI Wells Lifesavers Fund.

Find us
on Facebook

Respect The Water
Take care
on the coast
and by rivers
and lakes

Welcome to RNLI Wells

The RNLI Lifeboat Station in Wells-next-the-Sea 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
Updated 4/5/2021

Building work is progressing well on our new boathouse. See boathouse build pages for more.

New boathouse build

Recent Services

ILB and speedboat back at the quay with local coastguard in attendance, 10/5/21

Back alongside at the quay with local coastguard in attendance, 10/5/21

10 May 2021

Wells Coastwatch alerted Humber Coastguard to a 6m speedboat with two persons onboard that had experienced engine failure in the outer harbour and had drifted in gusting offshore winds onto Bob Hall Sands opposite the Coastwatch lookout. Continuing efforts to restart the outboard engine were unsuccessful and with the craft already aground as high water approached, there was concern that the boat and its crew would not be able to return to safety once the water started to drain quickly off Bob Hall sands as the tide ebbed. The coastguard paged the Wells inshore lifeboat at 17:42 and the ILB with a crew of three launched outside the boathouse at 17:54. With the speedboat in sight, the ILB was quickly on scene and it was decided the best course of action was to establish a tow, refloat the speedboat and take it back to the safety of the quay. Both boats arrived safely alongside the town pontoons at 18:26 and the lifeboat was back ashore 18:36 and rehoused and ready again for service at 19:00.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind S5 Sea Slight

Thalmia brought in on the last of the tide, 6/5/21

Lifeboat with 'Thalmia' on tow on the bar, 6/5/21

Thalmia brought in on the last of the tide, 6/5/21

Lifeboat with 'Thalmia' on tow on the bar, 6/5/21

Thalmia brought in on the last of the tide, 6/5/21

'Thalmia' brought in and passing the boathouse on the last of the tide, 6/5/21

6 May 2021

Wells all-weather lifeboat was paged by Humber Coastguard to assist a 9.7m yacht Thalmia which was passage between Lowestoft and Wells with one person onboard. The yacht had been under power, with light winds from the north-west, and had picked up a rope that had become entangled around her propeller disabling the craft.

The lifeboat launched at 15:38 on high-water and proceeded towards the last position of the yacht which was offshore between Salthouse and Weybourne. The lifeboat sighted the yacht at 16:20 and went alongside the craft which by this time had drifted a further two miles eastward in the seaway. The lifeboat put a crewmember onboard and assessed the situation. With the headwind expected to remain light overnight, the best course of action was decided to tow the vessel to Wells. The tow commenced at 16:50 and the lifeboat and yacht arrived off the harbour entrance at 18:50 where they just managed to get across the bar on the last of the ebbing tide and safely into the harbour. The yacht was made fast on a swinging mooring and the crewmember was transferred back to the lifeboat which then went ashore for recovery at 19:20.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind NW2 Sea Slgiht

28 April 2021

Wells inshore lifeboat was tasked whilst exercising in the harbour to a person cut off on Holkham Beach at 19:35. The local coastguard team were also tasked and had located the person cut off on the dunes on Holkham beach. The inshore lifeboat with a crew of three proceeded out of the harbour and along the shoreline to the west. The all-weather lifeboat, which was on exercise nearby, diverted to Holkham Bay and was able to guide the ILB to the exact location of the casualty.

The inshore lifeboat arrived on scene at 19:55 but the onshore sea and swell conditions would have made it very difficult to reach the person cut off from seaward. As it was then high water it was quickly ascertained that the person was not in immediate danger and it would be best if the person was assisted to safety from the shore by the local coastguard team as the tide ebbed away. At 20:09 the inshore lifeboat was released and returned immediately to Wells harbour as daylight was fading and the wind-over-tide sea conditions were starting to become challenging. The ILB was ashore at 20:25. The all-weather lifeboat stood by offshore until 20:30 and then returned to Station. Subsequently, a Coastguard helicopter was tasked to the incident and winched the casualty to safety at 21:45, departing the scene at 22:00. Both boats were rehoused, refuelled and ready again for service at 22:00.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind NE3 Sea Moderate

Fair Lass crossing bar, 28/4/21

Lifeboat with FV 'Fair Lass' crossing the bar, 28/4/21

Fair Lass safely back in harbour, 28/4/21

FV 'Fair Lass' safely back in harbour, 28/4/21

28 April 2021

Wells All Weather Lifeboat was paged by Humber Coastguard to go to the assistance of the Wells Fishing vessel Fair Lass with two crew onboard, which had broken down in a position 9 miles north of Wells Harbour, a 'Pan Pan' call having not resulted in any vessels able to render assistance in the vicinity. The lifeboat launched outside the Boathouse on the flood tide at 07:17 and proceeded toward the fishing vessel which had subsequently anchored. Arriving on-screen at 07:58 with a NE'ly wind progressively strengthening and the sea conditions intensifying, the decision was taken to tow the vessel to Wells while there was enough water in the harbour channel to enter.

The lifeboat and fishing vessel reached the harbour entrance at 10:09 where the tow was shortened up as the sea conditions, with the wind against a fast ebbing tide, had resulted in a fair amount of white water and breaking waves on the bar. By 10:25 the vessels had managed to cross the bar and reach the calmer water of the outer harbour. At 10:50 the fishing vessel was moored on the outer harbour pontoons and the lifeboat returned to station. It was ashore at 11:15 and rehoused and refuelled by 12:30.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind NE4 Sea Moderate

16 April 2021

Wells Inshore lifeboat was launched to a mayday for a missing kayaker. Two adult brothers had been fishing on kayaks at the entrance to Blakeney harbour and one called the coastguard by VHF reporting they had become separated and he could not see the other. The ILB launched at 13:25, well into the ebb, and arrived on-scene at 13:44, quickly locating the first informant in Blakeney Pit at 13:50 and beginning a search. Local coastguards located the missing kayaker safe and well at 14:06, hauled out on sand in the approaches to Blakeney quay where he was waiting for his brother to catch up. The ILB was stood down and returned to Wells to be recovered in Holkham Bay as there was now insufficient water left to come back into the harbour. The boat was washed down, refuelled and rehoused by 15:35.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind NE3 Sea Slight

ILB launching on service, 15/4/21

ILB launching in Holkham Bay en-route to Blakeney, 15/4/21

15 April 2021

Wells Inshore lifeboat was paged at 13:08 by Humber Coastguard to go to the assistance of a person reported clinging to an orange-coloured buoy in Blakeney Harbour shouting for Help. The ILB left the boathouse at 13:19, launching from Holkham beach on the ebbing tide at 13:31, as there was insufficient water in the main harbour channel, and arriving off Blakeney at 13:54. In the interim, the local Coastguard team had arrived on scene but could not locate a person in the water but identified a Kayak floating in the creeks which they subsequently recovered. The search for the person then broadened, including checking out both Morston hard and Blakeney quay. At 14:15 the Coastguard ascertained the person had managed to get ashore and had made their own way home safely. The ILB was stood down at 14:16 and was recovered at Holkham Bay at 14:35 and back at the boathouse, rehoused and refuelled by 15:30.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind NE3 Sea Slight/Moderate

27 February 2021

The inshore lifeboat was launched to assist 1 adult, 3 children and a dog who were cut off by the incoming tide on the marshes opposite the East Quay in Wells. The local group had tried to return across the channel but had given up the attempt due the strength of the flood. They had then called the coastguard on 999 as they were wet and cold and stranded on open marsh towards the end of daylight. The ILB with a crew of three launched outside the boathouse at 16:45 and arrived on-scene at 16:49 where persons and dog were ferried across to Cox's slipway. Local coastguard and police attended but no further assistance was necessary and the group made their way straight back home to get dry and warm. The lifeboat was rehoused and ready again for service by 17:45.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind SW2 Sea Slight

Latest News

Our congratulations to Philip Eaglen MBE

Fri 1 Jan 2021

Philip Eaglen made MBE in the New Year's Honours

Philip Eaglen made MBE in the New Year's HonoursRNLI

Wells RNLI is proud to congratulate long-serving crew member, tractor driver and mechanic Philip Eaglen who has been awarded with a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services in the 2020 honours list. Phil retired recently after serving the RNLI and Wells lifeboat station for 51 years, in addition to being a volunteer fire fighter for 27 years.

Phil officially joined as shore crew in 1969 although had been around the lifeboat station from the age of 15 helping out on the beach when the lifeboat was required to launch. During his time, he has held a number of roles including Head Tractor Driver, crewman and mechanic on the all-weather lifeboat as well as full-time mechanic at the station, ensuring the lifeboat was always ready to respond when a call came in.

Phil said: “I can't believe it, being honoured for doing what I enjoy. I’m just one of a team of dedicated lifesavers, and have been for more than 50 years. We have a serious job to do but it's very rewarding.”

Five other RNLI volunteers, from Aberystwyth, Cleethorpes, Southend, The Lizard and Weston super-Mare, were also recognised in the New year’s Honours.

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
Latest update 4/5/2021

Phase 1 of building work on our new lifeboat station is nearing completion. See boathouse build pages for more information.

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.

Please note that at present there is no public access to the lifeboat station. This is due to coronavirus restrictions and also because the beach by the lifeboat station has been closed while building works take place for our new lifeboat station. If you would like to watch the boats launching, you would be welcome to do so from the ramp from the beach bank path down to the beach or from the main Wells beach itself but please stay clear of the station and the building works.

Sunday 16 May 08:00
Regular exercise

Sunday 30 May 08:00
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