The new boathouse build is gathering pace... perhaps not quite on the home straight but now very much in sight of it.
Externally, the biggest change is that the metal panelled roof has been installed. Temporary doors have also been removed revealing smart blue roller doors for the Shannon lifeboat, the inshore lifeboat and the southern access door which will be used for larger deliveries and equipment maintenance and changeovers. Vertical wooden battens have been added over the black insulation which will be followed by corner posts and horizontal battens onto which larch cladding will shortly be installed for the building's final exterior appearance.
Inside has been a hive of activity as different trades complete the fitting out. The temporary 'grand staircase' obstructing the boat hall has been removed and a metal staircase which the crew will use to get up to the Shannon boarding platform has been installed, along with the first stages of safety rails around the boarding platform and the public viewing platform opposite. Staircases up to the first floor crew room and to the public viewing gallery have been installed along with the two accompanying lifts. Fire sprinklers have been fitted in the boat hall along with powerful lighting around both the boat hall and inshore lifeboat area. Currently electric cables and sockets are being installed with plumbing and fittings for loos, showers and kitchen to follow.
The space at the top of the ALB ramp continues to be in demand, containers for the contractors having been removed but almost immediately replaced with a portacabin for Wells NCI Coastwatch while the normal lookout is refurbished. This is a temporary solution and will of course not be staying!
Despite the rapid progress, the schedule has slipped by a couple of weeks so we now expect the boathouse to be completed by mid-June rather than at the end of May. It is intended to open the building to the public, at least the visitor engagement and shop areas, as soon as possible and to begin the process of moving equipment and items across from the old boathouse. The inshore lifeboat will ideally be operating from the new building over this summer while the current Mersey-class all-weather lifeboat will, for now, continue to operate from the old boathouse. Our volunteer crew will soon formally start training for the Shannon lifeboat and it is likely that a relief Shannon lifeboat and SLARS launching carriage will come to Wells ahead of our actual new lifeboat 13-46 RNLB 'Duke of Edinburgh' which is set to arrive in the Autumn.
If you'd like to get involved with the new station, we are still looking for volunteers to help with visits and the shop and would be delighted to talk to you or meet you at our open day at Wells Sailing Club on 30th April (postponed from March).
Thursday 14 Apr 2022
Roof done and fitting out inside