Surf & Turf Tug of War: This Crazy Showdown Pits a Kenworth Tow Truck VS a 900hp Tug Boat


In the ultimate water sports contest, this takes us front and center as we watch an unusual tug of war between a 500 horsepower Kenworth tow truck and a 900 horsepower tugboat. The primary consideration is the difference between the pulling surfaces — water versus cement. The action unfolds with the drop of the flag to start the war. The tugboat goes right for the kill and begins to drag the tow truck across the cement giving those industrial grade tires a scorching. This happens even though the tug boat is creating momentum on water. The power of the tug is so much that the front tires of the tow truck rise off of the ground, and that is exactly the point in this tug of war where fate changes hands.


What Just Happened?

Admit it. Most people would have called the truck to win, but the real surprise is the tug boats success in pulling the truck backward and nearly winning. How did that happen? Some may argue that this is really a matter of 900 HP versus 500 HP, but that is not quite it either. Some could argue that the water surface is what caused the tugboat to lose and that the truck had a better advantage due to being on cement, but that is not quite it either. Let’s look at what we know about each vehicle.


Kenworth Truck Stats:

  • 500 HP engine
  • 2007 Diesel Engine
  • Boom Rated for 50 tons
  • 26,000 pounds on the drive axles

Tug Boat Stats:

  • 900 HP engine
  • 2012 re-powered engine
  • Gross weight is 29 tons
  • 16,000-pound Pollard pull

How Is It that a 900 HP Tug Boat Was Out-pulled By a 500 HP Tow Truck?

The first consideration is not the horsepower of either vehicle. It is the angle of the tow line. When the tug pulls, the force of the pulling causes more pressure to be exerted on the drive wheels of the tow truck. When the tow truck pulls, it is actually lifting up on the tug boat. This causes two problems. First, neither vehicle is pulling square, and the effects of the pulls are not equal. The tug boat must pull down and away whereas the tow truck needs to pull up and away. The length of the dock actually works in favor of the truck, and yet the tug boat pulls the truck backward. The problem here is that the dock diminishes the power of the pull from the tug boat. Because the truck lifts up the boat, the surface of the water does not oppose the pull from the truck as the dock does for the tug.

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