Laying the foundations of the new RNLI Wells lifeboat house

The opening months of a project to build a new RNLI lifeboat house at Wells-next-the-Sea on the North Norfolk coast have been successful, as Mackley continues to lay the foundations.

Lifeboat crews at Wells have been saving lives at sea since 1830 but the first RNLI lifeboat station was built in 1869. The current boathouse is located on a sand and shingle spit just over a mile north of the town.

Construction of the new boathouse is underway. The building will house a Shannon class all-weather lifeboat and a D class inshore lifeboat; which was part funded by a successful local campaign in 2014-2015.

The boathouse will contain upgraded facilities for the crew and other volunteers, as well as provide extra space for visitor and community engagement. It is expected that the boathouse will be completed in 2022 – and the new Shannon class lifeboat will arrive shortly afterwards.

The first phase of construction is ongoing and involves driving piles into the ground to form the foundations for the boathouse and ramps; building up the soil and sand levels using reclaimed dredged material and constructing the concrete floor slab.

Tubular piling continues to the ALB Ramp on the Northern Foreshore, with 21No. piles installed. Pending diversion of the overhead BT cable, the final 6No. piles in the middle and top of the gabions will be completed.

The sheet piling has also commenced; with the ILB Ramp complete. The remainder of the sheet piles will be installed imminently.

On completion of the sheet piling and tubular piling to the ALB ramp; the tubular piling to the Lifeboat Station Building will be completed.

The first phase of the project is expected to be completed by May 2021.

The second phase involves the construction of the lifeboat station building.

Once complete, the lifeboats will exit the boathouse through the main doors and be pushed up and over the sea defences on a purpose built ramp straight into the channel or, if the tide is out, will be taken on their carriages to a low water launch site in Holkham Bay.

26 October 2020

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