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.
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Rendezvousing on the west side of the harbour channel, the Softrak transferred the pump to the ILB at 21:23 and the lifeboat was back alongside the Almare at 21:30. The two crew members on-board had by this time stabilised the situation and with the water level now down the skipper began to affect a temporary repair to stem further flooding.
With sufficient water at the start of the flood tide to enter the harbour channel, at 21:49 the ILB began a slow tow to the outer harbour where both vessels were met by harbour staff at 22:27. Once safely secured alongside and with the harbour's portable pump now on-board the casualty, the ILB was released to return to station. Following recovery the ILB was re-housed, re-fuelled and ready for service at 23:11.
After a debrief, it is believed that the skipper had been told on leaving Grimsby that he could access Wells harbour at any state of the tide which had resulted in the vessel running aground. Although the skipper managed to get his vessel to seaward again, the grounding probably resulted in damage to the yacht's drop keel and keel box allowing the water ingress.
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At 09:15 four lifeboat crewmembers were placed onboard the yacht and set about the task of bringing the sails and rigging on-board and recovering and lashing the broken mast to the side of the vessel so that a tow could be connected. At 09:45 preparations to tow were complete and the lifeboat and yacht proceeded towards Wells.
The lifeboat arrived at the entrance to Wells Harbour at 10.25 and as the tide was ebbing out strongly and with insufficient water for the lifeboat to proceed up the channel, the tow was transferred to the Wells harbour RIB William T which then towed the casualty to a safe mooring at the outer harbour. With her work completed the lifeboat departed the casualty at 10:30 and proceeded to Holkham Bay for a low water recovery, going ashore at 11:05.
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Both lifeboats then carried out an extensive search with the Coastguard helicopter, which was also tasked to the incident, in conjunction with local Coastguard units on the shore who searched the local beaches, harbours and inlets.
At 16:18 the Coastguard released the helicopter declaring that the search had been completed in full and was comprehensive and had not located any potential casualties. The ILB was released at 16:20 and the ALB at 16:25. The ILB was ashore at 17:00 and was refuelled, rehoused and ready for service at 17:25. The ALB was ashore at 17:10 and returned to the boathouse at 18:05 following a low water recovery in Holkham Bay. It was rehoused, refuelled and ready for service at 18:45.
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The ALB launched at 21.20 and commenced a search close inshore across Holkham Bay towards the location where the dinghy had been found. In the meantime the ILB towed the dinghy into Brancaster harbour, carrying out a search on route. On reaching Brancaster harbour the dinghy was secured to a sailing mark with the ILB then returning to continue searching in conjunction with the ALB.
At 22:10 the local Coastguard team reported that a similar vessel had been sighted drifting on the morning tide and that the owner of the dinghy had now been identified and all persons were accounted for. With this confirmation, the helicopter and both lifeboats were stood down. Arriving at the boathouse at 22:35 both boats were recovered, rehoused, refuelled and ready for service at 23.30.
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Artist Shirley Carnt's new painting is based on filming undertaken on Holkham Beach last year for a Lloyds bank advertisement featuring a horse-drawn lifeboat launch. The painting is to be donated to the station but will be on show at Shirley's summer exhibition at her studio at The Coastguard House, The Green, Thornham, PE36 6NH, which runs from 10am to 6pm every day from 20th August to 10th September 2016.
Five Wells crewmembers joined to help with the filming with the historic former Upgang and Whitby lifeboat William Riley. The television commerical along with posters based on still images from it received wide exposure last year.
Horses played a major role in launching lifeboats around the UK right up to the 1930s. At Wells, horses were rounded up from local farms to tow the lifeboat on its carriage out over Holkham Beach to the sea. Committee notes dating back to 1869, when the station was formed, show it was not always easy to persuade owners to let their horses be used. In Novemer 1872, the minutes note:
Mr. Lord having refused to furnish horses to take the boat down to Holkham Beach on the 15th inst. It was resolved that a letter be written to Mr. Walker asking him if he would provide horses when required for carriage of the Boat.
and again in 1876,
Proposed by C. Middleton, seconded by R.R. Rump that all the farms in Wells be asked if they are willing to supply horses to transport the Life Boat to any point required.
And in Sept 1877:
Proposed by Mr. J. Wilden that Misters H.R. Rump, R.R. Rump, H.A. Dewing and J. Andrews wait upon the farmers above or near this beach to know if they will supply horses to convey the Life Boat to any place required.
It seems that farmers were unwilling to volunteer their animals for free:
Jan 1878. Mr. Charles Middleton having offered the use of eight horses for one year to convey the Boat to any place required at the cost of 10s for each horse.
Nov 1879. C. Middleton Esq. has agreed to find horses to convey the Boat to any place for the sum of ten shillings per hour and two shillings and six pence for each driver.
Wells was the last RNLI lifeboat station to use horses to launch its lifeboat, with a tractor finally being installed to replace them in 1936.Visit Shirley Carnt's website
An estimated 1000 people attended the 56th Annual Lifeboat Service on Wells Quay on Sunday.
The lifeboat chaplain, the Reverend Neil Woodruff, led the service and gave the address from on-board the all-weather lifeboat Doris M Mann of Ampthill. The readers were Coxswain Allen Frary and crewmembers Jim Heasman and Angel Eaglen who has also been crowned this year’s Carnival Queen. Operations Manager Chris Hardy gave the closing prayers and vote of thanks to all who have supported the lifeboats in Wells so magnificently over the years.
The traditional seafarers' hymns were accompanied by the Fakenham Town Band and led by the Churches Together choir. During the final hymn, Abide With Me, the inshore lifeboat went round all the small boats anchored in the quay for the service to take a collection while Guild members collected from those on the quayside. As this was taking place the Mersey Class all-weather lifeboat did a circuit of the harbour sounding her siren before returning to the boathouse.
The collection raised £2016.76 for lifeboat funds.
Tesco in Fakenham kindly donated essential supplies for our recent open day... pictured is Guild Secretary Amanda Hastings with Tesco Community Champion Sara and Sue, one of the store's managers.
Wells lifeboat station is open on Wednesday evenings through August. You can hear a short talk about our work and history, meet and chat with some of the crew and go on-board the our Mersey class all-weather lifeboat. Younger visitors also have the chance to sit in our inshore lifeboat and perhaps try some of our kit for size.
All welcome... doors open from 6.30pm to 9pm or a bit later if it's busy.
After 17 months fund-raising, we reached our target to raise £250,000 towards a new Shannon-class lifeboat for Wells and the North Norfolk coast.
We are hugely grateful to everyone who has donated, fund-raised, helped and supported us both locally and from right 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.
And here's just some of the people and events that helped to make it happen... thank you page
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)2005-2014 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