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Become a supplier

Supacat pulling lifeboat safetly across the beach

It costs the RNLI over £140M each year to run our lifesaving service, and in 2011 we also spent over £30M on capital items such as lifeboats and lifeboat stations. Our spend can typically be broken down in the following areas:  

Rescue Services ​

Operational maintenance

Costs of raising voluntary funds

Coastal safety









Our lifeboats aim to reach at least 90% of all casualties within 10 nautical miles of the coast within 30 minutes of launch, and in all weathers. In 2011, our crews undertook 8,905 launches of which 3,288 were in darkness, rescued 7,976 people and 354 lives were saved.  

Our lifeguards attended 15,625 incidents, helped 17,671 people and saved 84 lives. 

We know we cannot achieve this on our own; our suppliers have a vital part to play in ensuring our success as an organisation by providing goods, services and training on time, every time. 

It is therefore extremely important that we provide a service that achieves value for money – and challenges our supply base to help keep our total costs as low as possible. 

We constantly challenge ourselves through our own in-house ‘Lean’ continuous improvement programs. Therefore, we will challenge our suppliers on cost. We expect, and will drive for, innovation in our supply chain and we want our suppliers to work with us to achieve our four key values: Selfless, Trustworthy, Dependable and Courageous. 

In return we offer our suppliers the opportunity to work with a globally-respected institution, whose aim is to further its global reputation by becoming a leader in its approach to ‘best in class’ business practice.

You can register your interest in supplying the RNLI by completing a short online form.

Simply download the Supplier Self Registration User Guide (PDF) and follow the step-by-step instructions.

Register here

Please note:
Our self registration site is externally hosted and is not currently compatible with Google Chrome or Firefox. We recommend you use Internet Explorer 6 or above.

If you have any problems while self-registering, please get in touch with our support team, who'll be happy to help.

If you have a general enquiry about becoming an RNLI supplier, you can contact the team here.

We look forward to working with some great new suppliers.

What we buy 

To help our suppliers understand the diversity of what we procure, we have compiled a list of categories of spend areas. Please click on the downloads entitled ‘What we buy’ for further guidance. 

The RNLI has adopted the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC) to provide us with visibility of what we spend and to optimise and manage this spend within our organisation. 

We are also active members of the Charities Sector Procurement Group (CSPG), sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS).  

The RNLI is a member of the British Marine Federation and supports the work that they do across this business sector. 

Project pipeline opportunities  

The RNLI aims to regularly publish an upcoming project plan. If you see a project that is of interest to your organisation, please self register via the ‘Becoming a supplier’ tab. 

Useful Links 





The RNLI’s Purchasing Policy has been written to provide RNLI people who purchase goods, works and service at every level, with guidelines on how to obtain best value. The policy will help them to make objective and consistent decisions, and achieve best procurement practice at the RNLI.   

The RNLI aims to obtain best value for money by procuring products, services and works in an efficient and effective manner, which ensures quality standards are high, and business needs are met with the most economic whole-life cost.   

All contracts and purchase orders must therefore: 

1. Positively enhance the RNLI’s professionalism and reputation.

2. Provide cost-effective expenditure.

3. Promote the efficient use of resources.

4. Deliver the outcomes required by the RNLI.

5. Be perceived by the public and volunteers to be an efficient and effective use of funds.

6. Minimise waste to reduce any environmental impact. 

7. Align with the RNLI’s vision, values and broader framework of policies; for example Standing Financial Instructions.    

All purchases must not:  

1. Compromise RNLI Vision and Values.

2. Negatively affect the RNLI’s reputation.

3. Conflict with core messages on corporate partnerships and fundraising.

4. Incur greater costs – in money, time or labour resource than is budgeted for.

The RNLI will, where appropriate, negotiate long-term partnership style commercial contracts, combining competition and cooperation in an optimal way. The RNLI will evaluate risk and opportunities when placing contracts, and incentivise performance and share risk where appropriate.

The RNLI will adopt an e-sourcing system during 2012, which will provide a faster and leaner procurement process. The RNLI will continue to use a transparent purchasing process, which delivers competition and demonstrates a commitment to equality of treatment. 

To facilitate culture change and sustain best practice, the RNLI will encourage staff to learn from each other’s wider experience in order to promote and support the aims of this policy. 

The RNLI has always had robust processes designed to counter bribery and corruption. These processes have been reviewed in light of recent legislation. RNLI contracts now reflect the new legislation. RNLI processes will continue to be reviewed and updated in light of any new legislation.  

Version date: 8 March 2012 

Created by: Gary Coleman, RNLI Commercial Manager