Wells Lifeboat  RNLI Lifeboats Wells Norfolk UK
Wells Lifeboat

Launch A Memory Wells

RNLI Wells Lifesavers Fund

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Wells Beach Safety leaflet

The sands to the west of the harbour entrance now quickly get cut off by the incoming tide. Download our 2022 updated local map and guide for enjoying the coast and beaches at Wells and Holkham... see our 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 30/6/2022

See boathouse build pages for the latest information on our new boathouse building.

Sea Safety Guide

Wells Beach Safety leaflet

The sands to the west of the harbour entrance now quickly get cut off by the incoming tide. Download our 2022 updated local map and guide map and guide for enjoying the coast and beaches at Wells and Holkham... see our Sea Safety Page

RNLI Wells Lifesavers Fund

RNLI Wells lifesavers fund

Recent Services

17 August 2022
10:28


Wells lifeboat was tasked by HM Coastguard to assist two people on a 22-foot yacht Kasonoya which had run aground east of Wells. The inshore lifeboat launched at 10.42am and the all-weather lifeboat at 10.44. The inshore lifeboat arrived on scene at 10.49 to find the yacht hard aground on the sand. The all-weather lifeboat arrived at 11:00 and stood off at sea while the ILB assessed the situation. It was quickly determined it would not be possible to tow the yacht off and that it would be best to promptly take the crew off the yacht for their own safety. At 11:15 the ILB took the two persons off the yacht and laid out the yacht's anchor to the north to prevent it moving any further up the sands and then headed back to Wells with the ALB following. The casualties were safely landed at the boathouse at 11:25 and passed over to the local coastguard team. Though cold and wet, neither required medical treatment. The boats were ashore by 11:39 and were subsequently washed down, rehoused and refuelled.

Weather Squally and overcast Visibility Moderate Wind N5 Sea Slight-Moderate

3 August 2022
13:41

Following a 999 call from a member of the public, Wells Inshore Lifeboat was paged to assist a person who was reported to be drifting out to sea on an inflatable and getting into significant difficulties 300 metres off the beach. The ILB launched at 13:46 outside the boathouse on the ebbing tide and proceeded to the reported position along Holkham beach. The person in distress had in the meantime abandoned the inflatable and had managed to swim back to the shore. The ILB arrived on scene at 13:50 and, despite a search of the area, was unable to locate the individual concerned. The lifeboat was then tasked to a yacht reportedly off Wells which had become entangled in a lobster pot. Arriving on-scene, it was established that the position given was incorrect and the casualty vessel was actually located off Cromer. The ILB was stood down at 14:35 and was rehoused and ready again for service at 15:00.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind S3 Sea Slight

19 July 2022
14:17

Wells inshore lifeboat was paged for an immediate launch by the Coastguard to assist a man who was in distress off Wells beach as temperatures soared. The man was a non-swimmer in a rubber inflatable ring and had got into difficulties as he was swept offshore. Three passers-by were alerted to his situation and two of them tried to help but they were unable to bring him to the beach because of the strong offshore wind. The ILB launched at 2.24pm and arrived on scene at 2.32pm to find that all on scene were accounted for. The man in distress was landed onto the beach. He had dislocated his shoulder, was suffering from heatstroke and was severely dehydrated. Essential casualty care was carried out by the lifeboat crew as the man drifted in and out of consciousness. He was exhausted and suffering from the ingestion of sea water. Medical assistance was requested, and the casualty was subsequently sick and started to feel a little better.

The station Softrack launch and recovery vehicle, together with more crew, a stretcher and oxygen, left the Boathouse at 2.45pm to join the ILB on the beach. The Softrac was on scene at 3.12pm and recovered the lifeboat onto its trailer. The casualty, who was still receiving medical attention, was then placed on a stretcher in the inshore lifeboat. The Softrack and lifeboat proceeded back across the beach to the new boathouse as the new building was much cooler insider than the lifeboat station. The casualty was transferred to the cooler confines of the crew changing room, where the lifeboat crew and a local paramedic continued casualty care and first aid. An ambulance arrived at 4.15pm with the casualty starting to respond positively. The decision was made to take the person to the hospital for further assessment and treatment. The inshore lifeboat was stood down and returned to station. It was rehoused refuelled, and ready again for service at 4.20pm.

Weather Fine/Very hot Visibility Good Wind Light airs Sea Smooth

17 July 2022
11:10

The inshore lifeboat was paged for an immediate launch for three persons in difficulty on Holkham beach. The persons were reported to have made it safely ashore as the crew were arriving at station and the launch was cancelled.

Launching the ILB outside the boathouse for the third time that day, 16/7/22

Launching the ILB to search for a man missing between Holkham and Wells, 16/7/22

16 July 2022
22:33

Wells Inshore Lifeboat was paged for a third time in a day to conduct a shoreline search for a missing man who had not returned to his car at the Beach Road car park after having been out walking with another person from whom they had become separated. The ILB launched at 22:46 outside the boathouse with a crew of 3 and commenced a search in conjunction with the local Coastguard team. A crew member from Wells also joined the land-based search with the coastguards equipped with the station's thermal imaging equipment. The ILB conducted a search of the area between Wells and Holkham and was returning eastward for another pass when at 23:21 the missing person was returned to the Beach Road car park courtesy of the landlord of a local hostelry. The lifeboat was stood down at 23:22 and returned to station and was again washed down, refuelled and rehoused just before midnight.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind W2 Sea Slight

16 July 2022
18:07

The inshore lifeboat was requested by Humber Coastguard to help search for a missing 12 year old autistic child last seen near the Golf Club at Brancaster beach. The ILB left the boathouse at 18:18 for a low water launch off Holkham beach and proceeded towards Brancaster. At 18:42 the ILB began a shoreline search off Scolt Head Island as it proceeded west towards Brancaster beach and harbour entrance. At 18:53, a child fitting the description was seen alone on the shore on Scolt Head Island and a member of the crew was put ashore to meet with them. Speaking to the child, it was quickly clear that he was likely to be the missing person and, despite communication difficulties, the crewman was able to calm the child and strike up a rapport and was able to gently persuade him to walk back with him west along the shore towards Brancaster beach, while the ILB shadowed them at a distance, keeping visual and radio contact. It subsequently emerged that as well as being autistic, the child could not understand English.

The pair reached the Brancaster channel at 19:15 but because the tide was now flooding in, it had become impassable on foot. Because the child had difficulty understanding the situation, the ILB collected the child's father from Brancaster beach and transported him across the channel to assist in getting the child into the boat. With father's help, the child was taken on-board and returned to the beach where his mother was waiting at 19:47. The ILB departed at 19:52 and was washed down, refuelled and rehoused by 20:50.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind W2 Sea Slight

16 July 2022
09:42

Humber Coastguard tasked Wells inshore lifeboat to help search for an elderly man who had last been seen on the evening of Thursday 14th when he had launched his small white and blue dinghy at Blakeney quay. The information was that the man would most likely be somewhere nearby in among the creeks and marsh, camping on his boat and that he was not likely to have gone out to sea. The ILB launched outside the boathouse at 10:15 and proceeded first to Stiffkey freshes off the Blakeney channel; locally received information indicated that the man often camped there. At 10:39 the ILB searched the freshes in conjunction with a coastguard unit but nothing was found. At 10:49 hrs the ILB moved to search in Blakeney Pit and then towards Blakeney harbour. By 11:33 the ILB had searched up to the approach to Blakeney cut and back along the northern side of the pit to seaward. The ILB was then stood down due the ebbing tide and preceded back towards the lifeboat house. In addition to the ILB the search involved several coastguard teams, the Police and a Police drone. An Air Sea Rescue helicopter had also been tasked but had not yet arrived on scene. At 11:56 the ILB was brought ashore, refuelled and rehoused by 12:20. The missing man and dinghy were subsequently located safe and well camped out in a creek to the west.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind W2 Sea Slight

Inshore Lifeboat launching to fishing vessel 'Kazmar', 13/7/22

Inshore Lifeboat launching to fishing vessel Kazmar, 13/7/22"

Recovering the ILB just after midnight on Holkham beach, 13/7/22

Recovering the ILB just after midnight on Holkham beach, 14/7/22"

The Mersey launching from Holkham beach at 03:50, 14/7/22

The Mersey launching from Holkham beach at 03:50, 14/7/22"

The ILB tows 'Kazmar' off the beach as the tide floods, 14/7/22

The ILB tows Kazmar off the beach as the tide floods, 14/7/22"

Lifeboat and 'Kazmar' safely back in Wells just after sunrise, 14/7/22

Lifeboat and Kazmar safely back in Wells just after sunrise, 14/7/22

13 July 2022
22:25


Wells Lifeboat was paged to assist a 10m fishing vessel Kazmar with two persons on-board which had got into difficulties wth engine problems in shallow water near Wells while on passage from Brightlingsea to Grimsby. As the crew mustered, the boathouse contacted the vessel by VHF which reported it was now aground with the tide ebbing away. With no chance of the all-weather lifeboat refloating the fishing boat until the next flood tide, it was decided to launch the inshore lifeboat to assess the situation.

The ILB launched at 22:52 and proceeded towards the vessel's reported position in Holkham Bay but it became evident that the vessel was actually to the east of Wells. The ILB located the vessel at 23:18, finding it currently safe but hard aground on sands north of Stiffkey. The lifeboat crew ran out the vessel's anchor to seaward and made up a towing bridle in preparation for refloating the vessel on the flood tide at first light using the all-weather lifeboat. With all prepared, the ILB returned for a low water recovery on Holkham beach and was rehoused by 01:00.

Crews for both lifeboats mustered again at 03:00 on 14th. The ALB left the boathouse at 03:15 to launch off Holkham Beach at 03:50. The Inshore Lifeboat launched on the first of the flood outside the boathouse 03:55. Both boats arrived on-scene at 04:10 where the Kazmar was already beginning to lift as the tide made its way up the beach. The ILB managed to attach a tow and, with little swell and favourable conditions, was able to pull the fishing boat stern first into deeper water while a crew member put on-board buoyed her anchor and cable. The all-weather lifeboat was then able to take over the tow. The ILB departed at 04:25 while the all-weather lifeboat, with the fishing boat in tow, headed slowly back towards Wells while the tide made sufficiently to enter the harbour. The pair came over the bar at 05:10 where the fishing boat was transferred alongside the lifeboat prior to being safely moored in the outer harbour at 05:30. The lifeboats were recovered and rehoused by 06:30.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind NW2 Sea Slight

Latest News

SLRS arrives in Wells

Wed 17 Aug 2022

Training and preparation for the transition to our new Shannon class lifeboat have begun in earnest with the arrival in Wells of our Shannon Launch & Recovery Systems (SLRS) unit. SC-T27 is named 'Patricia Jean Bettany' and is a brand new SLRS built specifically for the station.

The SLRS arrived on 28 July by road in two sections which were assembled on the Beach Road and then carefully driven up onto the beach bank, past the new boathouse and onto the beach. The unit for now will be kept at the top of the ALB ramp while the new boathouse is still being finished.

An intensive driver training course with the RNLI's coastal support team followed which included long sessions around our low water launch and recovery site on Holkham beach as well as taking the SLRS round the back of the current boathouse for manoeuvres on the back beach. Finally, the new boat hall was temporarily cleared so our drivers could have a first go at taking the SLRS into and out of the new boathouse.

Other training is on-going including coxswains and crew attending a jet boat handling course at the Lifeboat College in Poole at the start of August, helming a jet training boat and Shannon relief lifeboats, and courses upcoming in Wells and Poole for boat and SLRS mechanics.

A relief Shannon lifeboat will be arriving in Wells soon for crew familiarisation, afloat training and launch and recovery practice.

Wells' own new Shannon RNLB 13-46 'Duke of Edinburgh' is still on commissioning trials at the All Weather Lifeboat Centre in Poole. The boat will be on display to 'Launch A Memory' donors ashore at Poole from 20-24th August (event now fully booked) and should be arriving in Wells towards the end of September.

  More pictures of the SLRS and 13-46 in our gallery pages...

Wells' new Shannon Launch & Recovery System (SLRS) arrives in Wells ready for crew  training, 28/7

Wells' new Shannon Launch & Recovery System (SLRS) arrives in Wells ready for crew training, 28/7
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Unloading the cab/tractor unit, 28/7

Unloading the cab/tractor unit, 28/7

The complete SLRS launching carriage negotiating the ramp up to the beach bank, 28/7

The complete SLRS launching carriage negotiating the ramp up to the beach bank, 28/7
RW

Space is tight passing the new boathouse and down onto the beach

Space is tight passing the new boathouse and down onto the beach

Passing the new boathouse

Passing the new boathouse
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SLRS in place in its new temporary home on the new ALB launching ramp, 28/7

SLRS in place in its new temporary home on the new ALB launching ramp, 28/7
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Driver training on the beach between the old and new boathouses, 3/8

Driver training on the beach between the old and new boathouses, 3/8
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Driver training on the beach between the old and new boathouses, 3/8

Driver training on the beach between the old and new boathouses, 3/8
RW

Driven into the new boathouse for the first time, 4/8

Driven into the new boathouse for the first time, 4/8
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Stage 1 of SLRS driver training complete, 4/8

Stage 1 of SLRS driver training complete, 4/8

RNLB 13-46 'Duke of Edinburgh', Wells' new Shannon on trials in Poole, 11/8

RNLB 13-46 'Duke of Edinburgh', Wells' new Shannon on trials in Poole, 11/8
MP


Awards Evening

11/6/2022


Crew and guild members and their friends and families met up in the grounds of Wells Cottage Hospital on a lovely summer evening to recognise the long service of some of our volunteers. Many crew members also received the Queen's Platinum Jubilee medal which has been awarded to all frontline emergency services personnel that had completed five full years of service on 6 February 2022.

This was the first such event held several years and recognised achievements not just for 2022 but in 2021 and prior years so we were delighted to be able to welcome back some retired crew and people who have left the station to formerly recognise their contribution to Wells RNLI.

A bar and barbeque followed.

Awards were given for 20 years service to Lifeboat Operations Manager Chris Hardy and Tractor driver and Show crew Kent Cooper, both due in 2021. Crew member Max Phillips also received a 20 year award and Head Launcher Nicky Beck a 30 year award, both due this year. Certificates of service were awarded to past crew members Martyn Flitcroft for over 10 years and to Mick Frary for over 40 years on the lifeboat as a crew member, mechanic and navigator.

A special mention and picture were presented to Dr Gordon McAnsh who retired this year, having served as the station's Lifeboat Medical Advisor from June 2014.

Among the Wells Lifeboat Guide, 20 year service awards were made to Janet Beckett, Hazel Mitchell, Janet Angles, Isobel Camp, Kate Webb, Louise Williams and Margaret Bunting. Marylyn Smith and Linda Ballard were awarded 30 year awards and Sheila Warner for 60 years on the guild.

Platinum Jubilee medals were awarded to Nicky Beck, James Betteridge, Harmen Brouwer, Kent Cooper, Phil Eaglan, Martin Emerson, Martin Few, Mark Frary, Ross Fulford, Chris Hardy, Eric Hart, Nathan Hart, Greg Hewitt, Nicky King, Gordon McAnsh, Kevin Parr, Max Phillips, Peter Rainsford, Danny Roberts, Ray West and Fred Whitaker.

Our thanks to all who helped to support and organise the event, and to Wells Community Hospital for use of their Hive cafe and gardens. A bar and barbeque followed.



  Photos from the awards presentations...

See all news...

New Shannon lifeboat
and boathouse build

New boathouse build
Latest update 17/7/2022

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 August 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.

COVID-19 restrictions

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.

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 take care near building works for the new lifeboat station.

Sunday 28 Aug 2022 18:30
Annual Lifeboat Service

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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