Wells Lifeboat  RNLI Lifeboats Wells Norfolk UK
Wells Lifeboat

Welcome to Wells RNLI

Wells-next-the-Sea RNLI Lifeboat Station 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.

Recent Services

30 May 2020

Wells Inshore Lifeboat was paged to 5 persons lost in Blakeney harbour on the first of the incoming neap tide. The ILB launched in front of the Boathouse at 23:08 with a crew of 3 onboard and proceeded toward Blakeney Harbour.

The Coastguard and the Police with a drone where also tasked and located the missing persons with the drone at 23:33. The ILB entered Blakeney Harbour at 23:40 and proceeded toward the area where the drone was hovering and the casualties had been sighted on the south side of Blakeney channel to the east of the entrance to Morston creek. A Coastguard team had in the interim proceeded out across the marshes and was with the casualties at 23:55. The casualties had been on the marshes for 4–5 hours but did not require medical attention. As there was still insufficient water in the creeks for the lifeboat to bring the casualties off the marshes, the decision was made for them to walk off with the assistance of the Coastguard team. At 00:30 on 31 May, the casualties were safely off the marshes. The ILB arrived back at the boathouse at 00:41 and was rehoused and made ready again for service by 01:15.

Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind ENE3 Sea Slight-Moderate

Lifeboats and coastguardattending the grounded yacht 'Trouncer' on Holham Beach

Lifeboats and coastguard attending the grounded yacht 'Trouncer' on Holham Beach, 20 March 20 KP

20 March 2020

Wells lifeboats were paged to take two crew off a grounded 28’ yacht Trouncer which had been on passage northward along the Norfolk coast. The yacht had attempted to enter Wells Harbour but was too late on the tide and, with the water ebbing away, took shelter in Holkham Bay. With a strong north-easterly breeze, unfortunately the yacht ran aground and started to list heavily, shipping seas over her gunwale and taking on water.

As it was close to low water, both the inshore and all-Weather lifeboats left the Boathouse at 21:16 and proceeded along the beach toward the casualty. The inshore lifeboat identified the boat with its navigation lights on and arrived on scene at 21:36 to find the yacht hard aground and beam-on to the beach. The tide was receding fast and the ILB crew were able to take the skipper and his crew off the stranded yacht and transfer them to the local Coastguard unit. Although wet, cold and tired they were able to go to the Lifeboat Station and were offered shelter for the night. In the interim the ILB crew rigged the yacht's anchor to seaward.

During the grounding, the yacht had been subject to a lot of wave action and had frequently taken the bottom heavily and awkwardly, and it was uncertain if the wooden vessel had sustained hull or keel damage. With the anchor out to secure the boat and the next high water at 04:00, it was decided to return in daylight to assess the situation with a view to refloat the yacht and bring it under tow of the all-Weather lifeboat into Wells on the afternoon’s high tide. Both lifeboats left the scene at 22:50 and were rehoused by 23:30.

When the crew returned to the scene on Saturday morning they discovered that the yacht had not refloated on the morning's tide and the hull had broken up in the heavy seas and surf conditions, scattering the boat's contents along the tide line.

The lifeboat crew were able to recover the inboard fuel tanks and batteries to minimise the risks of pollution. The life raft was also landed ashore into safe keeping and the crew helped in clearing the beach of debris. They then returned to the boat house at 11:00 to wash down and clean both Lifeboats and the launch and recovery vehicles.

Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind NE5 Sea Slight-Moderate

14 March 2020

Humber Coastguard paged Wells Lifeboat for a dinghy with two persons onboard which had capsized in the entrance to Burnham Overy harbour and was getting into difficulties being towed by a support craft. The inshore lifeboat launched outside the boathouse. Arriving on-scene at 09:55, the two persons on the dinghy were transferred to the lifeboat and a crew member placed on-board the dinghy, which was heavily swamped and barely floating. At 10:04, the ILB commenced a tow to the hard at Burnham Overy Staithe but the spring tide was starting to ebb out fast and with the boat heavily laden with water, progress inwards was difficult. At 10:55 it was decided to leave the boat on the adjacent beach and take the casualties to the hard as they were starting to get very cold.

At 11:02 the ILB landed the two casualties safely into the care of the waiting Coastguards who then took them back to the accommodation locally where they were staying. The ILB then returned to the dinghy, which was by this time well up the beach on the ebbing tide, bailed it out and secured it with an anchor for recovery on the following morning’s high tide. The ILB departed a 11:45 and was rehoused, refuelled and ready again for service at 12:30.

Weather Overcast Visibility Good Wind SE4 Sea Slight

'Colchis' arriving safely back at Wells, her owner looking on

Skipper of 'Colchis' watching both Wells lifeboats bringing his yacht back into harbour, 6 March 20 RW

6 March 2020

Following the morning's ILB launch to the stranded yacht Colchis, both Wells lifeboats launched from the boathouse at 14:00, arriving on-scene at the western end of Scolt Head island at 14:42. The lifeboats then transferred a crew member onto the Colchis and established a tow and refloated the yacht on the rising tide. At 15:40, the all-weather lifeboat proceeded towards Wells harbour with the yacht safely in tow. The yacht was safely moored alongside in the outer harbour at 17:30 and both lifeboats were rehoused and refuelled by 18.20.

Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind NW3 Sea Slight

'Colchis' arriving safely back at Wells

'Colchis' being towed into the outer harbour by the all-weather lifeboat later that day, 6 March 20

Preparing the yacht for the attempt to refloat it in the afternoon

An anchor is laid out and bridle rigged ready to assist refloating the yacht on the afternoon tide, 6 March 20 KP

ILB crew attending the stranded yacht

Inshore lifeboat crew attending the stranded yacht 'Colchis' at Brancaster, 6 March 20 KP

6 March 2020

Humber Coastguard contacted Wells Lifeboat Station at 21:00 on Thursday 5th March to assist in an on-going incident. Hunstanton Lifeboat had earlier been launched to a 9m single-keel yacht Colchis which had run aground on the NW side of Scolt Head island close to the wreck of the SS Vina. The lifeboat had been unable to assist the casualty and in the end the lone yachtsman was airlifted from the yacht for his own safety. Wells lifeboat was asked to see if the yacht could be re-floated on the next tide at 03:00 as the Coastguard had concerns that it could become a danger to navigation.

After discussion and taking the weather conditions into account, it was decided the best course of action was to focus on re-floating the yacht on the afternoon tide on Friday 6th March. The skipper of the yacht keen to be reunited with his boat spent the night getting some rest at Wells boathouse.

On the Friday morning at first light, it was ascertained that the yacht had moved a half mile to the East on the morning high tide but was still firmly aground. The priority was to make sure that the boat had not been damaged during the grounding and to run out an anchor to seaward to aid the re-floating attempts in the afternoon.

To achieve this the ILB crew were paged at 09:15 and launched in Holkham Bay at low water 09:57. The lifeboat arrived on scene at 10:20 and started to assess the situation. At 11:15 with all in order and an anchor deployed, the ILB left the scene and returned to Station, arriving at 11:43.

Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind NW3 Sea Slight

8 February 2020

The inshore lifeboat was paged after Wells Coastwatch reported four persons cut off by the incoming tide on a sandbar to the west side of Wells habour approaches. The ILB launched at 14:30, arriving on-scene at 14:35 and picking up four young ladies who by now were in water above their knees. The lifeboat returned with the casualties to the station at 14:43 where they were taken inside to warm up, some having very cold feet. They were then passed to local coastguard officers who took them back to their accommodation in town. The lifeboat was rehoused and ready again for service at 15:20.

Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind SSW4 Sea Slight

8 January 2020

UK Coastguard paged the inshore lifeboat after receiving a 999 call from two persons who had become cut off by the tide while walking out past Stiffkey marshes. The ILB launched at 16:10 and proceeded out of the harbour towards Stiffkey. Sheringham and Wells coastguards were also tasked and established contact with the two persons and assisted in guiding the lifeboat to their position in rapidly fading light. The ILB picked the two persons up at 16:37 and made its way through the creeks to pass them to waiting coastguards at 16:42. No medical assistance was needed. The ILB was released to return to station and was rehoused and refueled and ready again for service by 17:30.

Weather Cloudy Visibility Good Wind WNW3 Sea Slight

Latest News

An important message for visitors to Wells-next-the-Sea

Thr 14 May 2020

As we approach the first weekend since changes to government advice on travel and exercise in the UK, RNLI Wells Lifeboat Station is issuing safety advice to those who might be planning to visit the north Norfolk coast.

Nobody would choose to put themselves at risk but sometimes, lack of awareness of local risks or of their own capabilities can lead visitors to a situation where they need help from the emergency services and others.

The RNLI’s aim  is to maintain an effective lifesaving service throughout the Covid 19 pandemic but it must be acknowledged that any call on our services will cause our crew to take extra risks because they may not be able to maintain safe distancing while trying to save a life or offer assistance to a casualty.

We therefore want to take all possible steps to ensure that the public are aware of the risks to themselves and to others and are also aware of the ways to keep safe around our shores. As the “lockdown” is eased, many will be keen to drive to the coast to exercise more freely. This increased activity will bring an increase in the possibility of something unexpectedly going wrong. 

Our message to anyone who may choose to come to the north Norfolk coast this weekend is:

  • Please be vigilant and aware, take extra care to stay safe, not just for your own safety but also for the safety of our lifeboat crews
  • Be aware that the tide will be coming in from lunchtime on Saturday and Sunday and there is a risk of being cut off by the tide if walking near the water’s edge
  • Please seek local advice before walking anywhere you are not sure of
  • High water times for Wells are at 3.20pm on Saturday and 4.20pm on Sunday

Some harbours will be open for leisure boating activity. Wells Harbour has issued 'Key Points to Harbour use' on their website www.wellsharbour.co.uk and will update this regularly; please read before making plans. If you are thinking of going afloat, please inform others of your intentions in advance, make sure that your boat is in good, safe working order and do not venture beyond the safe limits of your vessel’s capabilities and the experience of you and your crew – At all times be extra cautious.

In any coastal emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

The crews of the Wells lifeboats thank you for helping them to keep everyone safe.

COVID-19 restrictions

Mon 23 Mar 2020

Wells lifeboats and the lifeboat crew remain operational and ready to launch if needed during the Corona Virus outbreak. However, training and exercises and all public visits to the lifeboat station are cancelled.

See all news...

Advice for visitors
as lockdown eases...

As government restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic are eased from Wednesday 13 May, RNLI Wells lifeboat station has issued some advice for visitors returning to the North Norfolk coast or planning to get afloat in local harbours... Please read

COVID-19 restrictions

Wells lifeboats and the lifeboat crew remain operational and ready to launch if needed during the Corona Virus outbreak. However, training and exercises and all public visits to the lifeboat station are cancelled. Our usual public and fund-raising events and activities are also on-hold at the moment and may not take place as planned.

Shannon Latest

Planning permission has been granted for a new lifeboat station at Wells to house our forthcoming Shannon-class all weather lifeboat but legal work relating to the new site has taken longer than expected and we are now hoping that building work will be able to start in Spring 2020. This will take around 18 months to complete so our new Shannon-class lifeboat should then come into service late in 2021.

Funding for the new lifeboat was raised 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 even further afield. Your contribution is appreciated and will help to save lives and keep our volunteeer crews safe in the years to come. Read more about the station appeal

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.

Exercises and training cancelled until further notice due to COVID-19 restrictions

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)2005-2019 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