Wells Lifeboat  RNLI Lifeboats Wells Norfolk UK
Wells Lifeboat

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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.

Recent Services

25 October 2015

The ILB launched 14:55 to assist two persons cut off by the tide at Scolt Head, having tried, unsuccessfully, to swim back. At 15:10, the local Coastguard team reported that they were now with the casualties and that all was well and no medical attention was required. The ILB arrived at 15:12 but was not needed and the coastguard took the casualties, who were cold and wet, back to Wells by road. The ILB was rehoused, refuelled and ready for service at 16.00

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind S2 Sea Slight

Horses being led off on the east side of Burnham Overy harbour entrance channel

Horses being led off Scolt Head Island, 13 October 2015 RW

12 October 2015

Humber Coastguard requested the launch of the ILB at 17:50 after three persons with horses reported themselves cut off by the tide at the eastern end of Scolt Head. They had set off from Lady Anne's Drive at Holkham and crossed Burnham Overy harbour channel at low water before riding to the Brancaster wreck. On their return, the channel had filled with water on the flooding tide and they were unable to cross safely. The ILB launched at 18:03 in a light breeze from the north-east and with a slight swell at the harbour mouth and proceeded to Overy harbour. Arriving on scene at 18:20 the casualties were located on the northern shore of the island and were advised to relocate to the southern side of the dunes for more shelter from the now increasing wind and squally showers.

Following discussion between the station and Humber Coastguard it was felt the best course of action was to evacuate the riders and to leave the horses on the island overnight and until low water the following afternoon at approximately 14:00. The casualties declined this option saying they would attempt a return crossing at 23:00 but were advised this could be too hazardous for everyone concerned. It was eventually agreed an attempt would be made at 02:00 on Tuesday morning with both Wells Coastguard and station crew in attendance.

At 18:35 the ILB left the casualties to meet with the local Coastguard team at Overy quayside with keys to the horse box at Holkham and to return to the island with water and feed for the horses to keep them calm. With the Coastguards having collected the supplies the ILB returned to the island at 19:34. With worsening weather the concern now was for the three persons and whether they had adequate warm clothing to remain in position until 02:00. Thermal suits, all weather gear and balaclavas from the station plus food and a small tent provided by one of the station's crew was taken by road to Overy quayside and was collected by the ILB for its second run to the island arriving at 20:51.

At 22:13 the station's Softrak launching vehicle left the boathouse to recover the ILB within the sheltered waters of Overy harbour as the north easterly wind had now increased to a force 5 with worsening sea conditions it was considered too bad for the lifeboat to return to station by sea. It was also agreed that the ILB would be left on its carriage above the high water mark in case of need during the attempted crossing later. With the ILB stood down at 22:34 and recovered at 22:40, the crew returned to station at 23:20. Wells Coastguard team meanwhile remained on scene to monitor the situation. A change of crew was asked to muster at the boathouse at 01:00 on Tuesday 13th to assist with leading the casualties to safety.

The station's Softrak left the boathouse at 01:07 with five crewmembers on-board, three to standby with the ILB in the event the boat was required and two to lead the casualties and their horses to safety. At 01:50 a safe shallow crossing point in the channel had been identified and the two crewmembers walked out to the island before leading the riders and horses back through the channel, aided by the Softrak's lights. Once on the safe side of the channel at 02:30 the casualties were handed into the care of the Wells Coastguard team who escorted the party back to Lady Anne’s Drive and to their horse box. The Softrak and ILB returned to station at 03:20 and were re-housed, re-fuelled and ready again for service at 03:36.

Weather Cloudy, squally showers Visibility Good Wind NE3-5 Sea Slight-Moderate

8 October 2015

The ILB crew were paged at 15:02 after Humber Coastguard received several 999 calls reporting a person cut off by the tide on the west side of Wells harbour channel. With the casualty visible from the boathouse, the ILB launched at 15:10 and was on scene three minutes later. Returning to station at 15:20 the person was landed and taken to the crew room to ascertain whether any medical attention was required but after a hot drink was none the worse for her ordeal. The ILB was re-housed, re-fuelled and ready for service at 15:38.

Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind SW2 Sea Slight

7 October 2015

A launch request was received from Humber Coastguard to assist the Kings Lynn-based 14 metre MFV Audrina with 3 persons on-board. The vessel had suffered loss of power due to a problem with its fuel system while shrimp trawling north east of the Bridgirdle Sands. The crew were paged at 12:00 with the ALB launching from the boathouse at 12:14 on the first of the flood tide. Arriving alongside at 12:45, a tow was established and a slow return passage to Wells began at 12:55 but due to the draft of the Audrina and a neap tide the entry into the harbour had to be delayed until 14:50. With sufficient water, the lifeboat secured the casualty on a mooring buoy at 15:21 and returned to station at 15:25.

Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind W3 Sea Slight

Towing the Audrina into Wells, 7 October 2015

Towing the fishing vessel Audrina into the harbour, 7 October 2015

Phalarope enters Wells outer harbour under tow of the Wells Lifeboat, 9 September 2015

The disabled Audrina is manoeuvred onto a mooring, 7 October 2015

Latest News

Wells Shannon Lifeboat Appeal
reaches £250,000 target!

Fri 16 Oct 2015

Latest appeal news on quayside hoarding

Latest appeal news on quayside hoarding

Chairman Peter Rainsford (l) celebrates with Wells Guild members, Swaffham Guild members, Lifeboat crew and supporters

Chairman Peter Rainsford (l) celebrates with Wells Guild members, Swaffham Guild members, Lifeboat crew and supporters

Delighted RNLI fundraisers are celebrating after reaching the £250,000 target in their appeal for a new Shannon class lifeboat on the Norfolk coast one month ahead of schedule.

The Wells Shannon Appeal reached the quarter-of-a-million pound mark this month following a Herculean effort of fundraising by the local community and supporters across the country. The appeal was launched at the beginning of June 2014 and set a target of eighteen months to raise the £250,000 by the end of November this year.

The money raised will go towards the £2.1million cost of a state-of-the-art new Shannon class lifeboat for Wells-next-the-Sea, replacing the current Mersey class, which after 25 years is nearing the end of its operational life with the RNLI.

Peter Rainsford, Wells Lifeboat Station Chairman, said: "To have raised £250,000 in under 17 months is quite frankly extraordinary and testament to the dedication of our volunteer fundraisers and the incredible generosity shown by the Wells community and supporters from further afield.

"My deepest thanks go to the cake bakers, rowers, swimmers, runners, bikers, singers, golfers, event organisers and everyone else who gave their time and energy to generously raise money for our appeal.

"All those involved should feel proud of the fact they will have directly contributed to enabling our volunteer lifeboat crew to save lives at sea for many years to come."

The Shannon is the charity's latest class of lifeboat. She uses water jet propulsion instead of propellers, making her more manoeuvrable and agile in difficult seas. As with other all-weather lifeboats she will be self-righting in the event of capsize and will be able to cope with the roughest of conditions.

Allen Frary, Coxswain at Wells RNLI, said: "Thank you to everyone who has donated sums of money large or small. Our Mersey class lifeboat has served us well but the new Shannon will be faster and more manoeuvrable which will better enable us to save lives at sea.

"The Shannon also has a lot of features which will make it safer for the crew to operate when they are risking their own safety to save others. We are very grateful to everyone who got involved in the appeal."

With money still coming in from fundraising events, the Wells Shannon Appeal is expected to overshoot its £250,000 target. Any money raised from now on will go towards the funding of a new boathouse to house the Shannon and her launching equipment. As part of this, the RNLI will be broadening its fundraising efforts to appeal to businesses in the wider region to provide corporate support.

The total cost of the Shannon class lifeboat, launch and recovery equipment and boathouse will be £5.5 million. As well as the money raised locally, this figure will be met though legacies, donations and the fundraising efforts of the civil service charity, The Lifeboat Fund, which has pledged to raise £1.1million towards the new Shannon.

See all news...

Carol Service
Subday 13th

The station's annual Carol Service will be on Sunday 13 December starting at 6.30pm. Everyone is welcome to join the crew and launchers, guild members and their families at Wells boathouse.

We've done it...
or rather you have!

Date: 16 October 2015
Appeal total: £250,000

In 17 months, £250,000 has been generously donated to help fund a new Shannon-class lifeboat for Wells and the North Norfok coast.

We are 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.

Look out for more news of the Shannon on our news pages.

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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