Wells Lifeboat  RNLI Lifeboats Wells Norfolk UK
Wells Lifeboat

Launch A Memory Wells

Add a loved one's name to our new lifeboat...

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Frequently asked questions

RNLI Wells Lifesavers Fund

Donate to Wells Lifeboat

Wells Beach Safety leaflet

Download our new local map and guide for enjoying the coast and beaches at Wells and Holkham... see our new Sea Safety Page

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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

New boathouse build
Updated 27/9/2021

Walls and floors are appearing in our new lifeboat station! See boathouse build pages for more.

Launch A Memory

Launch A Memory Wells

Add a loved one's name to our new lifeboat...

click here to apply

Frequently asked questions

Sea Safety Guide

Wells Beach Safety leaflet

Download our new local map and guide for enjoying the coast and beaches at Wells and Holkham... see our new Sea Safety Page

RNLI Wells Lifesavers Fund

RNLI Wells lifesavers fund

Recent Services

ILB crew assist with feeding fire service hose across the channel, 15/10/21

ILB crew assist with feeding fire service hose across the channel, 15/10/21

Wells inshore lifeboat attending yacht on fire near Wells quay, 15/10/21

Wells inshore lifeboat attending yacht on fire near Wells quay, 15/10/21

Yacht on fire Wells harbour, 15/11/21

Yacht on fire Wells harbour, 15/11/21

15 October 2021
18:54

The inshore lifeboat launched with a crew of four at 19:07 in a multi-agency call to a moored yacht on fire within Wells harbour. The lifeboat arrived on-scene joining the Norfolk Fire and Rescue service who were already in attendance on the beach bank. The vessel was substantially ablaze and the fire brigade had already ascertained that there was no longer any people on board. With further agencies arriving, including police and coastguard, the fire service took the lead and a decision was made to fight the fire instead of leaving it to burn out.

With the tide ebbing, the moored boat was now dried out on sand. As the ILB was already on-scene, there was no need for the fire service to launch their own boat and the ILB and crew assisted by transporting equipment and firefighters across the channel to the vicinity of the burning boat. The crew also helped wading on foot to feed a hose from the fire pump across the channel which the firefighters used to douse the flames with foam.

Once the fire crew was satisfied that the fire was extinguished, the ILB helped to bring equipment and crew back across the channel. The lifeboat was stood down at 22:48 when the crew walked the boat back down the channel to the boathouse, there now being insufficient tide remaining to motor back. The ILB was recovered at 12:20 and washed down, refuelled and rehoused by 00:50.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind NW2 Sea Slight

10 October 2021
18:21

The all-weather lifeboat was paged to assist a fishing vessel with two crew 16 miles offshore which was unable to make way properly due to a rope fouling her propellor. As it was low water, the lifeboat launched in Holkham Bay at 19:07 and met up with the fishing boat at 19:36. A tow line was attached and the fishing boat towed back to the entrance to Wells harbour. As the fishing vessel had sufficient drive to make its own way to the quay, the tow was dropped at the West Cardinal buoy at 20:40 and the fishing boat headed in to its mooring unaided. The lifeboat returned to station and was refuelled, rehoused and ready again for service by 22:15.

Weather Cloudy Visibility Good Wind S2 Sea Slight

9 October 2021
16:14

The inshore lifeboat was launched to assist a RIB with four persons on board which had run hard aground in the approaching the harbour late on the morning's ebb tide. It had been hoped that the RIB's crew could recover the boat on the evening tide but one of the sponsons had lost pressure and there was concern about the boat refloating properly and its position out to sea with the onset of darkness and deteriorating visibility. The inshore lifeboat and crew coupled up to the Softrak launching vehicle proceeded before the flood tide across the beach to the foreshore where the boat was aground. The ILB was launched nearby at 16:38 and it was decided it would be best to take the four crew members of the RIB back to the boathouse and for the lifeboat crew to recover the RIB once the tide arrived. The Softrak returned to the boathouse with the RIB crew at 17:10 who then made their way up town to await their boat.

The flood tide started to lift the RIB by 17:35 and there were no issues with refloating. It was therefore decided that a member of the lifeboat crew would take the RIB under its own power back to its usual mooring in the town with the inshore lifeboat escorting it. Both boats made their way slowly in as the tide made in the harbour and the RIB was safely put its mooring at 19:00. The lifeboat came ashore at 19:25 and was washed down, rehoused and refuelled by 20:05.

Weather Fine Visibility Moderate Wind NE3 Sea Slight

2 October 2021
12:37

Humber Coastguard paged the inshore lifeboat to assist two people cut off by the tide on the west side sands on Wells beach. The two persons were visible from the boathouse, caught on a spit of sand rapidly disappearing under the flooding tide. The lifeboat launched at 12:49 and picked up the two persons who were cold and had wet feet but were otherwise well. They were brought back to the boathouse where the local coastguard team met them. The lifeboat was washed down, rehoused and refuelled by 13:40.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind SW2 Sea Slight

Fishing vessel 'Jolene' with helicopter and Skegness Lifeboat on-scene, 18/9/21

Fishing vessel 'Jolene' with helicopter and Skegness Lifeboat on-scene, 18/9/21

18 September 2021
00:51

The all-weather lifeboat was paged at 00:51 to a mayday call from a 14m Kings Lynn-registered fishing vessel Jolene with 2 crew on board. The boat had been trawling 2 miles north of Scolt Head island when she quickly started taking on water through the stern gland and was in danger of sinking. Wells Lifeboat left the boathouse for a low water launch in Holkham Bay at 01:12. Due to the severity of the situation, Skegness Lifeboat and a Coastguard Rescue Helicopter were also tasked to the incident. Wells Lifeboat launched in Holkham Bay at 01:46 and immediately set course toward the fishing vessel. First on the scene was the Coastguard Helicopter with the Skegness and Wells Lifeboats arriving within minutes of each other at 02:10.

The helicopter circled overhead while both lifeboats put crew members onboard and rigged up both lifeboats' salvage pumps which quickly reduced the water level onboard, enabling the helicopter to stand down and return to station. With the vessel stabilised and in a position to be towed, a tow line was rigged from the Wells Lifeboat and a passage back to Wells Harbour commenced at 03:00. Skegness Lifeboat escorted the Wells Lifeboat and fishing vessel back toward Wells fairway. At 04:00 when safely in the approaches to Wells, the Skegness Lifeboat recovered her salvage pump from the fishing vessel and set course back to Skegness. The fishing vessel was safely put on a drying mooring in the harbour at 04:45 and the lifeboat crew then assisted in tightening up the leaking stern gland to prevent any water ingress. The Lifeboat was ashore at 05:30 and was rehoused, refuelled and ready for service again at 06:31.

Weather Cloudy Visibility Good Wind S3 Sea Slight

Lifeboat bringing 'Making Memories' up to the quay, 17/9/21

Lifeboat bringing 'Making Memories' up to the quay, 17/9/21

17 September 2021
15:38

At around 14:30, Humber Coastguard received a VHF call from a 27' cruiser Making Memories with 3 persons on board approximately three miles east of Blakeney fairway, reporting a machinery failure while heading for Kings Lynn. The all-weather lifeboat was paged to assist at 15:38 with the lifeboat launching from the boathouse at 15:54. The lifeboat arrived alongside the casualty vessel at 16:35 and it was decided to tow the vessel into Wells. The casualty was safely brought into the harbour and moored on the Quay pontoon at 18:23. The lifeboat was released at 18:55 and was recovered, refuelled and rehoused by 20:00.

Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind E2 Sea Slight

7 September 2021
16:57

The inshore lifeboat was paged to assist two persons cut off by the incoming tide on the sands to the west side of the harbour channel on Wells beach, the same location as Saturday's service. The ILB launched at 17:07 and collected the two persons at 17:13. The ILB was then washed down, refuelled and rehoused by 18:00.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind NW3 Sea Slight

ILB launching on 4/9/21 to four persons cut off on the west side

ILB launching on 4/9/21 to four persons cut off on the west side sands

4 September 2021
14:41

The inshore lifeboat was paged to assist four persons cut off by the incoming tide on the sands to the west side of the harbour channel on Wells beach. The four people were visible on a disappearing sand spit and were being monitored by a local fishing boat which stood by offshore while the lifeboat arrived. The ILB launched outside the boathouse at 14:54 and swiftly collected the four persons, dropping them safe and well onto the main beach at 15:12. The ILB was then washed down and rehoused by 15:23.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind NW3 Sea Slight

Latest News

Shannon name announced

Thr 2 Sep 2021

On this day in 1950, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh assumed command of HMS Magpie and we're excited to reveal that Wells-next-the-Sea's new Shannon class lifeboat will be named Duke of Edinburgh, in honour of his maritime service

Our first public event for 19 months!

Crew and boats at the quayside, 22/8/21

Crew and boats at the quayside, 22/8/21
CF


Our thanks to everyone who came to our 60th Annual Lifeboat Service at Wells Quay on Sunday and to all those who worked in front of and behind the scenes to make it happen. This was our first public event since the pandemic started and it was lovely to once again have a crowd out to see the boats and join in.

We were also joined by NHS staff and volunteers from the Fakenham medical practice and vaccination centre on the restored historic lifeboat 'Lucy Lavers' as a thank you for their efforts this Summer. A more regular special guest was retired Coxswain David Cox, now age 95 and attending the event which he helped to start for the 60th time!

A collection raised just over £1600 for the RNLI.

Launch A Memory comes to Wells

Mon 7 Jun 2021

An opportunity for a loved one's name to be carried on the new Wells lifeboat...

An opportunity for a loved one's name to be carried on the new Wells lifeboat...

Crew and inshore lifeboat on the new ramp at the launch of Launch A Memory Wells

Crew and inshore lifeboat on the new ramp at the launch of Launch A Memory Wells

Fiona, Dorothy and Rob MacCallum with the crew and some of Campbell's photographs from the boathouse

Fiona, Dorothy and Rob MacCallum with the crew and some of Campbell's photographs from the boathouse
JS

Fiona, Rob and Dorothy MacCallum with members of Wells lifeboat crew and the inshore lifeboat

Fiona, Rob and Dorothy MacCallum with members of Wells lifeboat crew and the inshore lifeboat
JS

The late Campbell MacCallum (center, blue top) visiting the boathouse in 2018

The late Campbell MacCallum (center, blue top) visiting the boathouse in 2018


Wells' new Shannon lifeboat will carry the names of up to 10,000 people within the white letters and numbers – RNLI 13-46 – on the sides of her hull. The RNLI's Launch A Memory service allows people to celebrate a loved one by adding their name to a lifeboat in return for a donation to help with the running costs of the charity's lifesaving service. Wells' new Shannon has been chosen as the third lifeboat to take part in the scheme and the first in England after new boats being built for Invergorden in Scotland and Cliffden in Ireland.

At a launch on Wells beach this morning, crew members and some of the local people whose loved ones will be among the first names to be be commemorated on the new Shannon met with the local press.

Among them were the family of Campbell MacCallum who for many years was the station's unofficial photographer following an illustrious career as a photographer which started in swinging sixties London. Campbell's photographs have graced the history of the station, his 1979 big set piece 'rescue poster' of crew and boats and other local rescue services travelling around the world and becoming a regular tradition at Wells and other lifeboat stations.

If you'd like to take this opportunity for Wells' new Shannon to carry a name special to you, please visit the RNLI's Launch A Memory pages where you can enter your details. There is a suggested minimum donation of £50 and the funds wil be used to continue running the RNLI's lifesaving rescue service in Wells and at over 200 lifeboat stations around the UK.

Participants can keep up with regular updates on the progress of the new boat as she is built, tested and put into service and will have access to an on-line viewer which shows exactly where on the boat their chosen name will be placed.

  Launch A Memory - Wells... details and entry form

  Some of your questions answered

See all news...

Boathouse Build

New boathouse build
Latest update 27/9/2021

Walls and floors are appearing in our new lifeboat station. 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 having taken 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.

All public visits to the lifeboat station remain cancelled. Please do not enter the boathouse except by prior arrangement.

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 due to coronavirus restrictions. You are welcome to watch the boats launch from the beach beside the lifeboat station. Please take care near building works for the new lifeboat station.

Sunday 24 Oct 2021 08:00
Regular exercise

Thursday 4 Nov 2021 17:30
Prompt launch

Monday 22 Nov 2021 18:00
Regular exercise

Sunday 5 Dec 2021 07:45
Launch on ebb, LW recovery in Holkham bay

Monday 20 Dec 2021 17:30
Regular exercise

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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)2005-2021 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