Be a shop volunteer

Provide a friendly, welcoming service selling RNLI souvenirs and gifts at your local RNLI shop. 
RNLI shop volunteers inside the shop at Beaumaris Lifeboat Station

Photo: RNLI / Andrew Perryman

Beaumaris RNLI shop volunteers
RNLI shops started life as simple cake stalls run by volunteers to raise money for their local lifeboat station. 

These stalls started selling commemorative RNLI products in around 1920 and quickly moved on to selling souvenirs and Christmas cards. The first shop to be run as part of an actual lifeboat station opened in 1990.

Today we have a growing number of more than 170 RNLI shops on the coast and inland across the UK and Ireland, all of which are still run by dedicated volunteers. 

Many of these shops are located alongside our lifeboat stations, attracting almost 5 million visitors every year.

They stock an excellent range of unique and competitively priced souvenirs and gifts including homeware, clothing, keyrings and toys, all to raise vital funds to save lives at sea.  

The difference you can make

Our shop and visitor experience volunteers can make a real difference in ensuring that people arrive as visitors and leave as supporters.  

Your welcoming nature will ensure that our shops are a friendly and attractive place to buy from.

For many people, buying something from an RNLI shop will be the first time they come into contact with our charity. And as a shop volunteer, you could be the person who inspires them to support us now and in the future.  

Types of shop volunteer roles

  • Shop volunteer: offer a friendly and efficient service to all shop customers. There is also the opportunity to take on specific tasks such as stock coordination, visual display, rota coordination and banking.
  • Shop manager / coordinator: manage and motivate a team of shop volunteers and maximise the shop’s potential. 
  • Public engagement volunteer: get involved with both the shop and visits to the lifeboat station

If you have any questions about volunteering for the RNLI, visit our FAQs page.


If you can’t find a relevant role, please contact our Volunteering Team to see if there are any other shop volunteering opportunities in your area. 

What it’s like to be an RNLI volunteer

  • Our people
    RNLI people
    Ordinary people doing extraordinary things are at the heart of the RNLI.
    Our people
  • Skegness lifeboat volunteers training in rough seas in their D class inshore lifeboat, Peterborough Beer Festival lV D-739

    The difference you will make

    How your support helps