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.

Recent Services

17 September 2016

Humber Coastguard contacted the station at 18:43 asking for the ALB crew to standby as a precaution following a request from the harbour master who was attempting to guide a 14 metre yacht Acorn into the harbour. The yacht's skipper had been advised that conditions at the harbour bar were thought to be unsuitable to make a safe entry in a moderate northerly wind with a residual heavy northerly swell and darkness approaching. The crew were paged at 18:48. As the crew were mustering at the boathouse, the harbour launch reported that the Acorn had successfully negotiated the entrance and was now in relatively safe water and that no assistance would be required. The crew were subsequently stood down.
13 September 2016

Humber Coastguard paged for an immediate launch of the ILB having received a 999 call saying a person had fallen into the water after trying to board their tender from a moored boat and that a member of the public had also entered the water to assist the casualty. The ILB launched at 18:20 and arrived on scene four minutes later to find the casualty clinging to a broken stanchion but unable to board as his lifejacket had become entangled on the stump. The ILB safely landed both the casualty and the member of the public at the boathouse at 18:27 and then returned to the scene to collect and secure the tender to a mooring. On returning to station the ILB was re-housed, re-fuelled and ready for service at 18:50.

Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind ENE 2 Sea Calm

29 August 2016

Humber Coastguard had received a 999 call from a person who had had suffered a foot injury at the west end of Blakeney Point while out walking. The ILB was requested to evacuate the casualty and take them to Morston quay. Launching at 17:22, the ILB arrived on scene at 17:47 but after checking the casualty's injury it was felt that the ILB was not the best mode of transport due to a moderate swell running up the beach and the problem of getting the lifeboat back to seaward with the casualty on-board. The helmsman requested a vehicle to convey the person to the south side of the point where they could be picked up and taken to Morston quay in calmer conditions. It was arranged via the local Coastguard for the National Trust warden to collect the casualty in an Argo beach vehicle but, due to communication problems with the ILB's VHF radio, the crew were unaware that the warden would be taking the casualty to Cley beach, where he had left his car. Communications were re-established once the ILB was standing by on the south side of the point where Humber Coastguard informed the crew at 18:35 that the person was now in the care of the warden and no further assistance was required. The ILB returned to station at 18:50 and was recovered, re-housed, re-fuelled and ready for service at 19:15.

Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind W 3-4 Sea Moderate

27 August 2016

The ILB was paged by Humber Coastguard at 04:27 to assist the 35 foot yacht Rambling Rose that had reported running aground on an ebbing tide somewhere in Wells harbour. The two persons on-board were concerned the vessel could heel over and take on water as the tide ebbed and had asked to be evacuated. The lifeboat launched at 04:40 with initial information giving the casualty's position as being in the harbour approaches or Holkham Bay. With no sighting of the vessel in the vicinity, Humber Coastguard then informed the ILB that the yacht was, from its AIS signal, approximately half a mile to the south of the boathouse. Arriving alongside at 04:59 the vessel's skipper indicated that although the tide had ebbed further the boat had remained upright, and felt that no further assistance was required. Remaining on scene for a further ten minutes to ascertain there were no other issues following the grounding, the ILB returned to station at 05:12 was re-housed, re-fuelled and ready for service at 05:33.

Weather Cloudy Visibility Good Wind SW 1-2 Sea Calm

26 August 2016

Humber Coastguard paged the ILB after a member of the public dialled 999 and reported seeing a woman and two children entering the water on Wells beach but had lost sight of the group and feared they may have been swept away by the tide. The ILB launched at 16:45 but almost immediately was stood down after the RNLI lifeguards confirmed everyone was safely ashore. The ILB was re-housed and ready for service at 17:10.

Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind W 2 Sea Calm

25 August 2016

Humber Coastguard paged for an immediate launch of the ILB to assist the 25 foot yacht Almare after the skipper issued a Mayday saying the vessel was taking on water and sinking in the approaches to Wells harbour. The ILB, with four crew on board, launched at 20:52 and located the Almare at anchor to seaward of the harbour entrance at 20.59. Two crew members were placed on-board and reported that the water level was some way up inside the cabin area and the vessel's small bilge pump was not coping with the ingress of water which was thought to be coming in around the vessel's keel box. Bailing began with the aid of a bucket to try and reduce the water level while arrangements were made to transport the all-weather lifeboat's portable salvage pump to the ILB via the station's Softrak vehicle.

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.

Weather Cloudy Visibility Good Wind SW 2 Sea Slight

18 August 2016

Wells Lifeboat was paged by Humber Coastguard at 08:22 to render assistance to the 10m yacht Baby Beluga with 2 persons onboard which had been dismasted 5nm NE of Wells harbour. The windfarm support vessel Umoe Firmus stoody by the casualty prior to the arrival of the lifeboat at 09:02. The yacht's rigged sales and broken mast were still attached to the vessel and in the water along the starboard side of the vessel.

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.

Cloudy Cloudy Visibility Good Wind ENE 4 Sea Slight

Recovering the rig on <I>Baby Beluga</i>, 18 August 2016

Recovering the rig on Baby Beluga, 18 August 2016FW

Recovering the rig on <I>Baby Beluga</i>, 18 August 2016

Recovering the rig on Baby Beluga, 18 August 2016FW

<I>Baby Beluga</i> under tow back to Wells, 18 August 2016

Baby Beluga under tow towards Wells, 18 August 2016FW

<I>Baby Beluga</i> back in Wells harbour, 18 August 2016

Baby Beluga back in Wells harbour, 18 August 2016CH

Latest News

New painting celebrates horse-drawn lifeboat launches

Wed 3 Aug 2016

Artist Shirley Carnt with the new painting

Artist Shirley Carnt with the new painting

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

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Wells Shannon
Lifeboat Appeal
target reached!

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.

Read more about the appeal

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