Construction of the new boathouse has moved into its final weeks with much activity both inside and outside the building.
Externally, most of the cladding is completed and signs have been attached. There are still sections of cladding on the north and south ends to complete and the final fittings on the ends of the roof also can't be done until the cladding is in place. Some of the scaffolding is already down though and it will soon be time to complete the landscaping to the south of the building and steps and ramp up to the public and crew entrances.
Inside, fitting out and decoration are more or less complete with work now largely being a snagging list of areas to be finished or improved before the building is handed over to the RNLI.
As the project is now in its final stages, the contractors Reside are moving their offices into the building and the temporary offices in the Beach Road car park behind the cafe will shortly be vacated and removed. Similarly, National Coastwatch's temporary lookout cabin at the top of the ALB ramp is due to be removed in the next few days as refurbishment of their usual lookout is completed.
The plan remains to open the public areas of the new boathouse as soon as is practical and then to move the inshore lifeboat to the new building and have it operating from there before the end of this season. Our current Mersey class all-weather lifeboat will remain in the old boathouse for now but it is likely that a relief Shannon lifeboat and SLARS launching carriage will be in Wells over the summer months for crew training on the new equipment.
Wells' own new Shannon, RNLB 13-46 'Duke of Edinburgh' is currently being completed at the All Weather Lifeboat Center in Poole. While we do not have firm dates for its arrival at Wells yet, we understand it will be lifted into the water for trials at the start of July and, all being well, will be sailed home to Wells sometime around late September. There will then be a cross-over period while Wells boat crew and shore crew are trained and passed out to operate the new lifeboat before it will take over as the station's all-weather lifeboat.
Friday 17 Jun 2022