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.
See boathouse build pages for the latest information on our new boathouse building.
Weather Overcast Visibility Moderate Wind W4 Sea Slight
At 07:00 Humber Coatguard received a call from the skipper of the boat who had managed to swim ashore and contact them using the emergency contact phone located outside the golf club indicating that he was alright but his boat, a 16-foot speedboat, had sunk.
The Inshore Lifeboat was on scene at 07:10 and rendezvoused with the skipper on the beach. He was wet and cold. Once he had confirmed the position of the sunken boat, the inshore Lifeboat took him up to the slipway at Brancaster Staithe as the beach road was flooded on the Spring tide. He was met there by the waiting Coastguard team at 07:30.
The Inshore Lifeboat had managed to mark the sunken boat with a lifejacket attached to a mooring line and had passed its position to the All-Weather Lifbeoat. The ALB arrived at 07:28 and quickly located the sunken boat. The stern of the speedboat was on the seabed as the boat had a powerful outboard attached however internal buoyancy within the hull meant that the bow was just floating on the surface of the water.
The speedboat was deemed to be a danger to shipping. When the ILB returned alongside the ALB, it was decided that the crew would get a line on the speedboat and try to tow it to the foreshore. Once the tow line was fast, the All-Weather Lifeboat commenced the tow toward the beach subsequently passing it to the Inshore Lifeboat when the water started to shallow toward the beach. The Inshore Lifeboat managed tow in and beach the craft and then the crew were able to work the vessel further up the beach till it was high and dry as each rolling swell came onto the beach. With the speedboat safely made fast on the shore to enable further recovery and no longer a danger, the lifeboats left the scene at 08:30 and returned to station. The lifeboats were ashore outside the Boathouse at 09:05 and were washed down, rehoused and refuelled by 10:00.
Weather Overcast Visibility Moderate Wind E3 Sea Slight
Weather Overcast Visibility Moderate Wind E3-4 Sea Slight
Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind NW3 Sea Slight
Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind ENE5-6 Sea Slight
Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind ENE4 Sea Slight
Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind S3 Sea Slight
Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind S2 Sea Slight
The RNLI station flag is being flown at half-mast in mourning for the renowned Wells lifeboat coxswain, David Cox, who died on Sunday 24 April, aged 96. During his long and distinguished service, he received 5 awards from the RNLI for courage, determination and excellent seamanship.
David was born in Wells-next-Sea in 1926 into a family of fishermen, a life which he inevitably followed. It took him on transatlantic cargo trips to America, fishing for whelks out of Wells harbour, and in time, becoming coxswain of the Wells lifeboat.
As a boy David would race to the beach when the launch maroons went off from the lifeboat house indicating danger at sea and help to launch the lifeboat. In 1945, at the age of 19, he volunteered as a member of the lifeboat crew, following in another family tradition. In 1960 David took over as Coxswain of the lifeboat from his uncle, William Cox.
His most difficult rescue, for which he was awarded a prestigious silver medal, was on 15 February 1979 for the service to the Romanian cargo ship Savinesti with 29 people on board. The Romanian ship had engine failure eleven miles off the coast of Wells. The weather was so severe that neither the Sheringham nor Cromer lifeboats could reach the ship. The Wells 37ft open lifeboat Ernest Tom Neathercoat launched and David and his crew reached the vessel, despite the lifeboat's radar freezing and poor visibility because of the snow. With the assistance of the Humber lifeboat, which escorted the Savinestito safety, all lives on board the vessel were saved. In summary, David and his crew were at sea for 11 hours 24 minutes that night, in violent storm conditions with very heavy swell and unbelievable seas, poor visibility and sub-zero temperatures.
During his time as Coxswain, he was also awarded a Vellum for the service to yacht Kiskadee in August 1964, a framed letter of thanks for the yacht Kalin in September 1966, a Vellum service to the MFV Pilgrim in tow of the tug Superman in October 1973, a bronze medal for MFV Sarah-K in November 1982 and a framed letter of thanks for service to the tug Dockman in April 1983.
David retired from the lifeboat at the age of sixty in 1986, having handed on his vast knowledge of the sea and seamanship to the volunteer crew members who had joined under him. Before he died, he recorded his memoirs, which have been a fount of knowledge for the RNLI. Wells Lifeboat Operations Manager, Chris Hardy, said "David was an inspiration as Coxswain to all lifeboatmen throughout the Institution, particularly for his courage and unwavering determination to saving lives at sea off our coastline. He actively continued that commitment throughout his retirement years and was a great ambassador for the RNLI, often recalling in great detail the difficult 'shouts' he had taken part in, which totally captivated all those who were listening. David's time served in Wells will never be forgotten and his longstanding contribution to the RNLI will live on in his memory - he was a legend!"
The RNLI is building a new lifeboat station at Wells ready for a new Shannon-class lifeboat be delivered to the town later this year. See boathouse build pages for the latest progress on construction work.
The new boathouse will take around 18 months to complete and is expected to be finished in June 2022.
It will house our inshore lifeboat and the forthcoming Shannon-class lifeboat which is currently being built at the RNLI's All-Weather Lifeboat Centre in Poole. The new boat, no. 13-46, will be named 'Duke of Edinburgh' and is expected to arrive in Wells in the Autumn.
The new lifeboat 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 further afield.
Public access to RNLI stations is permitted again so we are delighted to be able to welcome vistors to the station once more but we remain keen to protect our crews and ensure the lifeboats can be manned if needed while the virus is still in circulation. Casual visitors can pop in when the station is manned but please contact us in advance for groups or organised visits and please leave it for another day if you or someone you have recently been in close contact with has Covid symptoms or a positive test.
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 take care near building works for the new lifeboat station.
Tuesday 31 May 2022 18:00
Thursday 16 Jun 2022 18:00
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