Bollard pull is a conventional measure of the pulling (or towing) power of a watercraft. It is defined as the force (in tons or kilonewtons (kN)) exerted by a vessel under full power, on a shore-mounted bollard through a tow-line, commonly measured in a practical test (but sometimes simulated) under test conditions that include calm water, no tide, level trim, and sufficient depth and side clearance for a free propeller stream. Like the horsepower or mileage rating of a car, it is a convenient but idealized number that must be adjusted for operating conditions that differ from the test. The bollard pull of a vessel may be reported as two numbers, the static or maximum bollard pull – the highest force measured – and the steady or continuous bollard pull, the average of measurements over an interval of, for example, 10 minutes. An equivalent measurement on land is known as drawbar pull, or tractive force.
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