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

1 August 2020

Wells Lifeboat was paged at 15:45 following a call to Humber Coastguard from 4 adults and 4 children cut off by the incoming tide at Cabbage creek in Stiffkey marshes. The inshore lifeboat launched outside the boathouse at 15:55 and proceeded towards Stiffkey. The lifeboat arrived on scene at 16:10 and initially checked a party of 17 persons on the marshes, ascertaining that they could walk off without assistance. The boat was then guided toward the 4 adults and 4 children by the local Coastguard team, located at the Stiffkey vantage point, as they were not visible from seaward. The lifeboat picked up the casualties at 16:21 and took them to the safety of the shore where they were met by the local coastguard. The Inshore Lifeboat departed at 16:45, undertaking a safety sweep of the sands to seaward of Wells harbour to make sure nobody else was cut off, before coming ashore at 17:03.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind W3-4 Sea Slight

31 July 2020

The inshore lifeboat was paged this afternoon to reports of a man and a boy cut off by the incoming tide on the east side of Wells Harbour. Launching at 14.22 with a crew of three, the ILB headed towards the quay to find the casualties had already been picked up by the harbour launch and returned to shore, along with a further six people.

The inshore lifeboat proceeded to search up Sluice Creek following a further report that persons had been sighted cut off by the tide but no-one was found. The lifeboat then returned to the beach as several people were in danger of being cut off by the tide on the west side of the harbour entrance channel. Two adults and a child were picked up and returned to the main beach. A further search was then conducted to ensure no further people were in danger or needed assistance. The lifeboat returned to the boathouse at 15.15 and was rehoused, refuelled and ready again for service at 15.30.

Weather Fine Visibility Good Wind S3 Sea Slight

23 June 2020

The inshore lifeboat was paged at 17:05 to assist 14 persons in danger of being cut off by the tide in the vicinity of Scolt Head Island. With a crew of four, the left the boathouse at 17:19 and launched in Holkham bay at 17:33 as there was insufficient water in the main channel on the incoming tide. RNLI Hunstanton's hovercraft was also tasked to the incident.

The ILB arrived on scene at 17:42. While en-route, the number of persons potentially cut off had been revised to eight and, in the end, five persons were confirmed as being safely back on land. The ILB was stood down and departed for Wells at 18:18. Approaching the harbour, six persons were seen to be in danger of being cut off on the west side sands and were advised to swiftly cross back to the main beach. The ILB was back at the boathouse 18:33 and was rehoused and refuelled by 19:00.

Weather Part cloudy Visibility Good Wind SSE3 Sea Slight

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 were 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

Latest News

Lifeguards to return to Wells beach

Fri 19 Jun 2020

RNLI lifeguards will be on duty on Wells beach every day from 10am to 6pm from 4th July until 6th September.

The RNLI's lifeguarding service has been restricted this year by the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown which has meant the institution was unable to organise and train properly prior to the normal lifeguarding season. Huge efforts have been made since restrictions were eased to provide cover at selected beaches and Wells will now be covered over the summer holiday.

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...

COVID-19 restrictions

Wells lifeboats and the lifeboat crew remain operational and ready to launch if needed during the coronavirus outbreak. However, training and exercises and all public visits to the lifeboat station are cancelled. Please do not enter the boathouse except by prior arrangement.

All our usual public and fund-raising events and activities are 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 all building projects have been suspended during the coronavirus outbreak. The new building will will take around 18 months to complete.

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