About

Harbour Office Opening Times

Summer
Monday - Friday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday - Sunday
9:00 am - 10:00 am
Winter
Monday - Friday
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Saturday - Sunday
9:00 am - 10:00 am

The Harbour Master, or staff on duty, will be present on the tide during peak season (beginning of June to end of August).  For the remainder of the year (September to end of May), a VHF listening watch will be maintained.

Emergencies

For emergencies in or around the harbour and coast, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.  At sea, call Humber Coastguard, VHF Ch.16.

Click here to view our handbook (pdf)

Wells-next-the-Sea on the North Norfolk coast has been a port and a largely natural safe-haven for ships and boats for at least 600 years. Protected by rare salt marshes behind a sand bar, the Port of Wells was one of England’s major harbours in Tudor times and a thriving, busy centre for shipping and maritime industry in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when its stone quay was constructed, along with many of the large buildings and tiny yards and houses that still dominate the look and feel of the town.

Commercial shipping in Wells suffered with the coming of the railway in 1857 but the harbour continued to be busy up to the first world war. There was something of a revival in the 1970s and 1980s with ships of up to 300 tons regularly unloading on the quay. Indeed, commercial carrying arguably ended only in the late 1990s with cargoes of grain brought from Europe by the Dutch sailing ketch Albatros, said at the time to be the last commercial trading vessel under sail in Europe.

However, Wells retains a vibrant fishing fleet, with hard-working boats slipping out on one tide and returning on the next. They are joined by other visiting commercial and fishing vessels from all over the UK and Europe, and the harbour has become busy in recent years with vessels engaged in survey, crew transfer and safety boat operations for the Sheringham Shoal offshore windfarm.  The Outer Harbour (behind the lifeboat house) serves personnel transfer vessels for the windfarm, and dredging of the harbour entrance channel increases access times to the harbour for these vessels to come and go as necessary.

Wells Harbour also caters for a growing leisure trade, both for locally-owned boats and, increasingly, as a popular destination for visiting vessels. All day and one-tide sea angling trips are available on boats such as Whitby Crest and Sapphire. The harbour is regularly used for sailing and other water-based leisure activities (jetski-type craft and hovercraft are not permitted). The town has a thriving sailing club and a water ski club. Situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Wells plays host to thousands of holiday-makers and visitors almost all year round, making for a unique mix of people and activities. The long tradition of gillying (fishing for shore crabs) from the quayside is as popular as ever, and Wells’ expansive beach with its oft-illustrated colourful beach-huts means that there are always people on, in, or near the water. It may not be the noisy maelstrom of 100 or 150 years ago but the quayside remains a busy, active place where it’s fun to get involved or just to sit and watch all that’s going on.