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

10 September 2018

The inshore lifeboat was paged to rescue a person and dog in difficulty in the quay near high water on a big spring tide. It is understood the dog had gone overboard from the tender which was struggling under oars against the tide, and the person had then entered the water to retrieve the dog. On arrival, both person and dog were back aboard the tender which was lodged in shallow water over the submerged marsh, with the harbour launch standing by and in conversation but unable to reach them. The ILB crew brought the tender off the marsh and returned it and its occupants to their boat, which is moored in Sluice creek, where both could get dry and warm. Once safely back on-board, the lifeboat returned to station and was made ready for service again by 20:30.

Weather Cloudy Visibility Good Wind SW2

26 August 2018

UK Coastguard requested the launch of Wells inshore lifeboat after a 999 call from four persons on a small outboard-powered open boat with engine failure drifting off Blakeney. The ILB launched on the last of the morning's tide and located the vessel at anchor approximately 3 miles east of Blakeney fairway. The boat was taken in tow into Blakeney but there was insufficient water left to take it further into the harbour than just inside the point. The boat was securely anchored and then one member of the inshore lifeboat crew escorted the four persons on foot over the sands onto the marsh and thence to Morston, to be met by local coastguards. Meanwhile, the ILB departed to avoid being grounded until the next tide, returning to Holkham beach for a low water recovery.

Weather Cloudy Visibility Good Wind SW3

26 July 2018

With crew waiting at the boathouse for the return of the all-weather lifeboat with a vessel in tow (see below), it was noticed that several people had not returned to the landward side of the channel as the tide started to flood into the harbour. With no lifeguards on duty and the beach patrol boat not yet present, it was decided to launch the ILB to collect two persons who had entered the water to try to swim across the strong current and then to perform a sweep around the harbour to check other groups. One further person was ferried to the beach from Bob Hall sands and advice was given to another group who intended to remain on East Hills until later in the evening.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind W3

26 July 2018

The all-weather lifeboat was requested to launch to take over a tow from Hunstanton lifeboat. The motor cruiser Persephone had suffered engine failure in the Wash while en-route to Wells. Wells lifeboat was launched from the low water launch site at Holkham beach and returned with the cruiser in tow into Wells early on the next tide. The boat was safely tied-up in the outer harbour and later assisted by the harbour launch to quayside.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind W3

22 July 2018

Wells Inshore Lifeboat was paged to assist in a search for a person reported missing between the town and Pinewoods campsite and who it was thought may possibly have entered the water. The ILB launched and headed towards the quay to begin a search along the beach bank. Local police and coastguard officers were also in attendance. Shortly after launching, a crew member who had arrived at the boathouse after the ILB had launched spotted a person in the water clinging to a vessel within the outer harbour. The ILB was quickly diverted and recovered the person from the water from the inside southern end of the outer harbour pontoons. With presently-warm conditions and apparently not having been in the water long, the person did not require any medical attention and was landed at the boathouse into the care of the local coastguard team.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind SW 2-3

15 July 2018

A member of the public reported an inflatable kayak possibly in difficulty in Holkham bay. UK Coastguard requested the assistance of Wells ILB which was paged at 15.10 and proceeded towards the low-water launch site on Holkham beach, towed by the station's Softrak launching vehicle. At 15.31 the Softrak met with the first informant and then proceeded towards the location where it was now thought the kayak had come ashore. At 15.40 the ILB located the kayak ashore with its occupants now with their parents. With all well, the ILB was stood down and returned to the boathouse.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind NE 2-3

1 July 2018

The Coastguard requested assistance with a medical evacuation from Wells beach which local Coastguard officers were attending. The ILB was paged at 18.20 but as the casualty was lying in a position near the boathouse, it was decided not to launch the boat. The crew made their way on foot and rendered first aid before placing the casualty onto a stretcher. The ILB's Softrak launching vehicle was then used to transport the casualty off the beach to meet with an ambulance.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind NE 3-4

30 June 2018

The inshore lifeboat was tasked by the coastguard, along with a helicopter, to assist in a medical evacuation of an injured person from Blakeney point. As the ILB was leaving Wells Harbour, it was established that local rangers had been able to move the casualty to Cley beach car park where an ambulance would shortly be able to attend to them. The lifeboat was stood down and returned to the boathouse and was rehoused and ready again for service by 19:00.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind NE 3 Sea Slight

29 June 2018

The Coastguard paged at 21.58 requesting the inshore lifeboat to proceed through the marsh to Stiffkey to search for and render assistance to 3 persons (1 adult and 2 children) seen to disembark from small craft which had become stuck on mud on the falling tide and thought to possibly be in trouble. The ILB launched at 22.15. It was late on the ebb tide and it was not clear if there would be sufficient water to reach Stiffkey via Stonemeal creek. With moderate conditions close inshore to seaward, the all-weather lifeboat was then launched to provide cover for the ILB's return which would have had to have been out to sea from Stiffkey. The ILB could not get through Stonemeal Creek and returned past the boathouse to rendezvous with the all-weather boat which then escorted it across the bar and on the seaward passage round to Stiffkey.

The Coastguard also tasked helicopter Rescue163 from Lydd, to assist. With boat boats off the search area, an additional crewman was transferred to the inshore lifeboat and an attempt was made to put two men ashore to reach the search area on foot. The conditions were difficult and with a surf running and a fast ebbing tide and no indication of immediate risk to life, it was decided not to put the ILB and crew at risk but to wait for the helicopter to arrive and carry out its search.

Both boats stood by just offshore until the helicopter arrived at 00:40 and began a search using its infra-red imaging equipment. Local coastguards had by now not observed any people in the vicinity of the search for some time and the helicopter, working in good search conditions, could not locate any persons on the marsh. At 01:15, both lifeboats were stood down and returned to Holkham Bay for a low water recovery. The boats were ashore at 01:55 and back in the boathouse, refuelled and ready for service, by 03:15.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind NE 3-4 Sea Locally moderate

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind NE 3 Sea Slight

26 June 2018

Two persons and a dog walking via the marshes and sands from Stiffkey to Wells via a route last used by them some 15 years ago arrived on Bob Hall sands on the seaward side of the harbour channel just as the tide had started to flood. They were unable to cross the (relatively new) dredged channel. The Wells lifeboat mechanic observed their difficulty from the boathouse and advised them not to try to cross but to wait for assistance. The ILB was paged at 15:35, launching at 15:45, and recovered the casualties and their dog, landing them on the beach by the boathouse. The ILB was re-housed, refuelled and ready for service at 16.15

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind NE 3 Sea Slight

17 June 2018

Wells Inshore Lifeboat was paged at 06:01 on Sunday morning to assist in the search for a male in his 70s who had gone missing the previous evening while walking in the area of Titchwell beach and marshes. Local coastguard teams from Wells and Hunstanton had, with the assistance of the Search and Rescue helicopter and Hunstanton Lifeboat, searched the coastal region extensively on Saturday evening into the early hours. The ILB was requested to search into the creeks and marshes on the flooding tide.

Launching at 06:22, the ILB arrived on scene at 06:56, entering into the marshes at Titchwell drain and carrying out an extensive search of the creeks in conjunction with the local coastguard, as well as making a sweep into Thornham and Brancaster. At 9:41 the ILB was stood down and returned to station and was refuelled and ready again for service at 10:45.

The search meanwhile continued with the addition of coastguard teams from Cromer and Sheringham along with USAR, Norfolk police with dedicated POLSA (Police Search Adviser), specialist search dogs and Norfolk Lowland Search and Rescue. A sighting of the missing person called in by a member of the public, an image captured by an animal camera trap placed in the bird reserve and footprints found by Wells ILB during the morning's search helped to focus the search on an area of dense reed bed at the southern edge of the marsh.

At 14:35 a police drone located the casualty in the reeds, trapped in mud and water but alive. The drone helped to guide Coastguard and USAR rescue team to his position where he was extracted onto an inflatable sledge. He was then winched to safety by the Search and Rescue helicopter and subsequently taken to hospital by the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind SW 3 Sea Slight

9 June 2018

UK Coastguard requested the launch of Wells Lifeboat just after 4pm to assist a 10m fishing boat Mia Blue with steering failure. The crew were paged and the boat launched at 16:26. The Border Force vessel Special Alert also headed out of Blakeney harbour to stand by the casualty until the lifeboat arrived. Just before 5pm, the lifeboat took the fishing boat in tow, taking her safely to her mooring in Blakeney harbour.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind SW 3 Sea Slight

Latest News

Wells lifeboat marks the next chapter of lifesaving

Sun 9 Sep 2018

Crew members and guests with our current all-weather lifeboat Doris M Mann of Ampthill

Crew members and guests with our current all-weather lifeboat Doris M Mann of Ampthill

Sir Mark Sedwill, Chair of The Lifeboat Fund and Sarah, Countess of Leicester, unveiling the plaque

Sir Mark Sedwill, Chair of The Lifeboat Fund and Sarah, Countess of Leicester, unveiling the plaque

A plaque was unveiled today at Wells Lifeboat Station to mark the successful conclusion of The Lifeboat Fund's appeal to provide £1.1M towards the cost of the station's new Shannon-class lifeboat and boathouse.

The Civil Service charity The Lifeboat Fund has supported the RNLI for over 150 years and its 150th Anniversary Appeal set out to raise money for a new all-weather lifeboat for Wells. The plaque honours a generous legacy donation from retired civil servant Miss Louene Smith which took the fund to its target and provided a further £100,000 which will go towards the cost of building the new boathouse.

The Lifeboat Fund's support, along with other donations, including a local appeal which raised over £250,000, will enable crew and volunteers at Wells Lifeboat Station to begin a new chapter of lifesaving on the North Norfolk coast.

RNLI volunteers, trustees and guests attended today's event, including Sir Mark Sedwill, Chair of the Lifeboat Fund, Sarah, Countess of Leicester, Cllr Michael Gates, Mayor of Wells-next-the-Sea and John Bines, RNLI Deputy Fundraising Director.

Sir Mark Sedwill, Chair of the Lifeboat Fund, said: 'Her generosity in donating a £445,000 legacy, along with the valiant fundraisers of The Lifeboat Fund, have allowed us to complete the £1.1M of fundraising for the 53rd lifeboat we have funded for the RNLI - and provide a further £100,000 funding for the new boathouse that will be the home of the new Shannon Class Lifeboat.'

Chris Hardy, Wells RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: 'On behalf of the volunteer crew and everyone associated with the RNLI Lifeboat Station in Wells, we are deeply indebted to The Lifeboat Fund for its incredible fundraising efforts towards the cost of our new Shannon lifeboat and what a marvellous way this is for the Fund to mark its 150th anniversary of raising money for the RNLI.'

'We also acknowledge with thanks the generous legacy donation made by Miss Louene Smith, which closed The Lifeboat Fund appeal earlier this year. The money will be used to fund the earlery shore works associated with our new boathouse build, which will commence later this year.'

Fundraisers visit the station

Mon 27 Aug 2018

Wells Crew members with the 911 Challenge Porsche on its brief stopover in Wells en-route to all 238 RNLI lifeboat stations

Wells Crew members with the 911 Challenge Porsche on its brief stopover in Wells en-route to all 238 RNLI lifeboat stations

Merrick Gill on our all-weather lifeboat

Merrick Gill on our all-weather lifeboat

James Dye at the helm of our all weather lifeboat during his visit to the station

James Dye at the helm of our all weather lifeboat during his visit to the station

We were delighted to meet three different fund-raisers visiting the station over the bank holiday weekend.

On Friday, James and Belinda Richardson stopped by in their Porsche 911, along with friends and supporters in a selection of fast cars, as part of their RNLI 911 Challenge... to drive the 911 around the UK's coastline visiting all 238 RNLI lifeboat stations in 911 hours. The couple started from Teddington lifeboat station on 23rd August and are already at Berwick on Tweed on the Scottish border. They hope to complete their circuit by 30th September and to raise the equivalent of £238 for each of the lifeboat stations. You can read more about the challenge at the link below. follow them on Instagram and Twitter or make a donation on justgiving.

On Saturday, while the inshore lifeboat was out on a shout at Blakeney, Merrick Gill and her father from Dereham dropped in to donate £117 which she raised making and selling cupcakes. Merrick is a keen supporter of the lifeboats and hopes to work on or around boats when she's older.

Shortly afterwards, RNLI Stormforce member James Dye and his family called in with a cheque for £110 being a welly-full of money raised at his dad's Norfollk Broads boat hire business Silverline Marine in Brundall. James and his brother had a quick tour of the station and we were impressed with his mechanical knowledge learnt from helping turn cruisers around in the yard.

Our thanks to all three fund-raising teams for their support and for everyone who has donated or contributed to their efforts.

  RNLI 911 Challenge website

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Shannon Latest

Planning permission has now been granted for a new lifeboat station at Wells to house our forthcoming Shannon-class all weather lifeboat. It is expected that building work will start in the Autumn of 2018 and take around 18 months to complete. The new Shannon class lifeboat should then come into service in the Spring or Summer of 2020.

Funding for the new lifeboat was raised 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

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