IELTS Reading Practice Test 7-1Saturday, April 04, 2015
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution at Lyme Regis
The Early History
Only two years after the foundation of the Royal National Institute for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck in 1824, Lyme Fiegis was fully recognized as a town that needed a lifeboat.
This need had been originally highlighted in the November of 1824 when, during a tremendous storm, the lives of the crew of the barque Unity were saved by local men at Black Ven, east of the town. The actions of three of the rescuers gained recognition in the awarding of a gold medal and two silver medals respectively. These were some of the first RNLI medals to be awarded.
Early in 1825, a Coastguard Captain named Richard Spencer altered a local boat by ﬁtting airtight compartments and cork tendering so that it could be used as a “propel” lifeboat. The organization that we now know of as the RNLI (since 1854) was pleased with Spencer’s experiments and in 1826 brought the saving of life at sea under its auspices.
From 1826 to 1852 the station was served by two locally converted vessels, but no records exist as to their names. It was the events of Boxing Day 1852 that stimulated the need for a purpose—built lifeboat in the town, when four of the five life boatmen perished on service to the barque Heroine carrying emigrants bound for Australia.
The following years saw two 8m “Peake Plan" lifeboats at the town and in 1866 the first named lifeboat, the William Woodcock, was placed on station. The 10m vessel carried out 7 rescue call-outs and was replaced in 1891 by the Susan Ashley and then by the Thomas Masterman Hardy in 1915. In all, these five sailing and rowing lifeboats carried out 32 call-outs before the station was closed in 1932, as motorized lifeboats from Exmouth and Weymouth were believed to be able to cover the area.
In 1937, and with only local boats once again acting as lifeboats, the Royal Air Force Marine Craft Unit came to the town and operated their fast patrol and safety launches from the site of what is now the Marine Centre west of Monmouth Beach. The Royal Air Force unit was closed in 1964. With the boom in boating as a recreation, and Lyme Regis now a thriving holiday resort, the town was yet again without a lifeboat: but after long discussions and hard fundraising, June 10th 1967 saw the re-opening of an RNLI lifeboat station in the town and almost 900 call-outs later, it is still operating to this day.
Awards for Gallantry
There have been many services at Lyme Regis that have been recognized by awards: in total, 1 Gold, 7 Silver and 3 Bronze Medals since 1825. The most prestigious in recent years being in August 1979 when helmsman John Hodder with his crew of three rescued a party of five persons (including a small boy) from their yacht White Kitten in storm force conditions.
John Hodder and crewman Colin Jones (who single-handedly sailed the yacht to the safety of the harbour) were each awarded the Bronze Medal and the crew were also presented with the Ralph Glister Award for the most meritorious rescue by an inshore lifeboat that year.
The Lifeboat Today
The lifeboat now stationed here was funded almost entirely by local donations and came into service on 29th September 1997. She is a longer, wider and more powerful successor to the Atlantic 21 being powered by twin 7Oh.p. engines giving a maximum speed of 34 knots. Pearl of Dorset is fitted with a satellite navigation system, VHF radio, righting capability in the event of a capsize, and first aid equipment. The crew is normally three, including the helmsman.
The boat is launched from its DO-DO trolley (meaning Drive On, Drive Off).This is maneuvered by a semi-submersible tractor enabling speedy launches particularly at low water. The station prides itself on an average launch time from initial call to leaving the harbor of just seven minutes. Each year the lifeboat launches over one hundred times on rescue call-outs and exercises, many of which involve other rescue services.
Life boatmen Today
Today's volunteer life boatmen here come from all walks of life. Only two of the crew of fourteen are professional seafarers: the rest are made up of such professions as teachers, market gardeners, engineers, builders and chefs. The crew are supported by a similar number of people on the shore acting as mechanics, tractor drivers, radio operators and other invaluable shore helpers. They are all dedicated to the saving of life at sea and can only do so by the continued support of the public.
Look at the events and dates below. Match one date to each event. Use each date ONCE ONLY.
Write your answers in boxes l—5 on your answer sheet.
1. A lifeboat service was provided by the armed forces. .......... ..
2. Several life boatmen died carrying out a rescue. .......... ..
3. The ﬁrst dedicated lifeboat was created.
4. The lifeboat service was relocated to other coastal towns. .......... ..
5. The Royal National Institute for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck changed its name.
Choose the correct letter; A, B, C or D.
Write the correct letter in boxes 6—8 on your answer sheet.
6. The current lifeboat was mostly paid for by
A. the local council.
B. local people.
C. the crew.
D. the RNLI.
7. The current lifeboat is launched
A. from a trolley.
B. from a larger boat.
C. in shallow water.
D. in under seven minutes.
8. John Hodder won a medal for
A. rescuing so many people.
B. skilful sailing in bad weather.
C. sailing single-handed.
D. rescuing a small boy.
Do the following statements reﬂect the claims of the writer? In boxes 9—I3 on your answer sheet, write
YES if the statement reﬂects the claims of the writer
NO if the statement contradicts the claims of the writer
NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this
9. Richard Spencer’s lifeboat saved many lives. .......... ..
10. Lyme Regis has had its own lifeboat service since 1937. .......... ..
11. The lifeboat service is important to the local economy. .......... ..
12. The present lifeboat will not sink if it turns over in the water. .......... ..
13. Life boatmen come from a wide variety of backgrounds. .......... ..
(1) 1937 (2) 1852 (3) 1825 (4) 1932 (5) 1954 (6) B (7) A (8) B (9) NOT GIVEN (10) NO (11). NOT GIVEN (12) YES (13) YES