Here are some Judging Tips from the ACBS Head Judge Jeff Funk.

You have been diligently working on your boat, or your restorer has, and you are going through the punch list to make sure all is in order for the big day of judging at the ACBS International Boat Show in Port Huron this September.  You keep asking yourself, “what have I forgotten?”

First, please be sure your ACBS boat show registration is accurately completed with correct class, preserved vs restored, etc., and you submit your registration to ACBS absolutely no later than September 1st.  Any judging registrations received after that will not be judged.

Also note the new judging sheet is now on the website (, so you can print that out and refer to it as a helpful guide.
(ACBS members may click on the MEMBERS ONLY tab, sign in to, then find the 2018 SCORING SHEET (excel spreadsheet) in the Chapter Handbook section H which is under the Resources Menu Tab.)

Don’t forget to make sure you attend to the small details.  It’s true what they say, that’s where the devil is.  Many times, a boat will appear with correct stain color(s), correct interior and gauges, correct and freshly chromed hardware, detailed engine, and a mirror-like finish.  Here are some items we often see overlooked…

  • Do you have the proper flag/burgee clips for the era and make of your boat?
  • Is your burgee and/or ensign nylon when it should be cotton?
  • Correct fasteners on deck hardware? (Believe it or not many times the incorrect fasteners are being used.)  Are they stripped, badly gouged or scratched?
  • Correct clamps, hoses, connectors, etc. on your engine? Is the color correct? 
  • Does your boat have cushions with proper filling, does it have the correct tags in the right location if they came with them? Did your cushions come with straps or not?  Do seat backs have the proper number of welts, seams, padding, etc.?
  • Is your ignition key stainless steel when it should be brass?
  • Do you have key start only when it came with pushbutton?
  • Are you missing any hull tags, whether brass, paper, etc.? Are they in the correct location?  (The same goes for the engine.)
  • Is your boot stripe the correct color, width, and is it one color or a double like many models? (PS… is your bottom color correct?)

There are obviously more details, but these are the most common mistakes we see.  Remember, your boat is judged as it was when it left the factory.  Obtain as much info on your boat as you can and use it as a reference.  Do not hesitate to share it with the judges along with any other documentation you have that proves your boat is truly “factory correct.”

And one more time…please clean your boat…especially the bilge.  Judges do not appreciate climbing out of a bilge covered with oil, grease, and dirt following their inspection.  Your boat came with a clean bilge when it left the factory, so don’t overlook this.  I would also advise removing any modern coolers, iPads, or any other modern devices that are obviously not from your boat’s era.  Keep your boat “in character”, so to speak.  It all helps. 

So, I hope I haven’t discouraged you or added too many more items to your list.  I’m sure most of you have already attended to these items…but it never hurts to pass along a friendly reminder. 

Good luck!  See you on the docks!

Jeff Funk
Head Judge / Port Huron ACBS Show
Judging Committee Chair


  1. Jeff,


    The new judging sheet for 2018 seems to address only inboard – wood boats. Are the 2014 judging sheets for the other types of boats (I’m most interested in non-wood outboard-powered) still in effect for the Port Huron show this year?


    Dave Nau, Treasurer
    North Coast Ohio Chapter, ACBS

  2. Good question Dave. The new sheet applies to 90% of boats that historically register for the show. Boats in your particular category will use the older judging sheet…this year. We’re still working on those, and hope to have those implemented for next year’s show.

  3. Great article!
    Keeping the whole boat clean is an obligation of every boat owner. Eventually, I don’t want it to be damaged in just a short time as it’s an investment. I dislike, yellowing, mold, and mildew in my boat, so cleaning it is essential.

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