The most obvious and eagerly-anticipated addition to the new boathouse this month was the long awaited arrival of the lifeboat it was built to house. Wells' new Shannon 13-46 Duke of Edinburgh arrived in Wells on 8th October, completing her journey by sea from Poole. The boat was met off Wells by our current Mersey-class lifeboat and inshore lifeboat and was welcomed to the town by crowds gathered on the quay.
After the celebrations, the lifeboat was recovered onto the SLRS on the beach which then waded round through the ebb tide to bring the lifeboat up the ramp to be washed down and finally taken into in her new home. 13-46 was pushed out and polished up the next morning to be displayed to the public and, in the afternoon, to lifeboat crew past and present, guild members, local supporters and their families.
The crew are still training to use the Shannon so for now operations continue to be run from the current boathouse and the Mersey-class lifeboat remains in service as Wells lifeboat, alongside the inshore lifeboat. It will be some time yet before the crew are passed out to use the Shannon after which the Mersey will be retired.
In and among all the excitement, final building work is still on-going on the boathouse building itself with assorted jobs and snagging still to be completed. This means the building has not been handed over to the station and we have been unable to move in properly or to open it fully to visitors and the public. It is hoped that the shop and visitor areas will be able to open soon.
There's fewer signs of building work going on outside the building. The fencing around the south apron and by the visitor centre entrance has been removed and the area opened to the public. New benches have been installed along with banners showing the 'Launch A Memory' decals on the new boat. For those wishing to see the new lifeboat, it's possible to get a glimpse through the windows but not a good view.
The lifeboat and SLRS wil be out and about for training in the coming weeks and we will publish dates when the boathouse is open or the lifeboat can be viewed as soon as we have them.
Tuesday 18 Oct 2022
13-46 arrives home