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Wells RNLI lifeboat volunteers go to the aid of tug and two barges

Lifeboats News Release

On Sunday 18 September the all-weather lifeboat went to the aid of a tug which developed steering problems towing two barges off Wells on a passage from the Humber.

RNLI/John Mitchell

Tug Speedwell and two barges under tow from Wells Lifeboat

The tug Speedwell was towing the barges - one 23m and the other 30m long - south when she developed steering problems approximately five miles offshore from Wells near the Blakeney Overfalls.

Wells RNLI lifeboat was paged at 4.33pm - and launched shortly afterwards. The lifeboat took the vessels in tow and looked at the possibility of taking them into Holkham Bay but there was no shelter there as the wind was gusting north-north westerly Force 4/5.

Instead, the decision was taken to tow her along the coast to the east of Cromer where the seas became calmer and more sheltered in the lee of the land. After carrying out temporary repairs the crew were able to continue their passage, under their own power, south towards the Thames Estuary.

Wells lifeboat then returned to station and made a low water recovery in Holkham Bay at 10:30pm. The lifeboat was ready for service again at 11:30pm.

RNLI media contacts

  • John Mitchell, Wells RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, 07831 103166
  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252
  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207416, 07786 668825,
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland