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Boat Judging Procedures 


Overall Approach to Judging

This is a "user" boat show, as well as a "show" boat show.  

The Thousand Islands Chapter takes a very unique approach to judging boats entered in its annual show- User boats and Show boats have a more or less equal chance of receiving equal awards through a system of awarding multiple equal awards within a class, as explained more fully below.  This relatively new system has been widely emulated throughout the country and is one of the primary reasons why our show is so widely anticipated and enjoyed by all concerned.  This approach also recognizes that most of our members own very high quality craft that are in regular use on the River.  It is a respected tradition of both our members and other River people, to keep the tradition of wooden boats alive (and well) in this area where so many fine wooden boats were built.

The quality level of the wood boats displayed at antique boat shows in recent years is so pristine that regularly used boats are frequently “out of the running” when compared to boats that are only kept to enter shows.  Boats that are in everyday use can’t possibly be held to the same standards of perfection that boat shows frequently use as a basis for judging the special "show only" craft.

The Alexandria Bay Vintage Boat Show is unique among shows because it recognizes the value of well maintained working boats and employs a scoring system that accommodates their minor flaws which are often the result of frequent use.  The judging system at this Vintage Show is designed to accommodate Historic, Antique and Classic, working (user) boats along with show boats, in a fair and equitable way.  The goal of our Show is to encourage participation of a wide range of vintage craft that would include attractive user river boats that are in everyday use as well as outstanding “show boats” that are less frequently used.

Judging Procedure

Judges are assigned into teams of two or three participants.  The appointed team captain is responsible for recording the official score for each boat and resolving judging issues that may arise within the team.  Issues that cannot be resolved quickly or satisfactorily are settled by the chief judge.

Each boat that is being judged begins with 100 points overall.  Deductions from 100 points are made in specific categories by the judges according to the established guidelines.  Each judge is encouraged to evaluate each boats independently and upon completion, discuss their respective scores with their team members.  There must be consensus by all team members so that the team captain can record one set of points for the team.  If there is discrepancy, the chief judge will be called upon to resolve the score.

If there are two teams judging one large class of boats, they must endeavor to be consistent in their scoring procedures.  If this is not accomplished there could be inconsistency of scores within the same class.  Any inconsistency of scores in the same class will result in the inequitable awarding of trophies because of a dual standard.  When there is more than one team for a single class of boats, each team should begin by independently judging the same boat and their comparing scores in the presence of the chief judge.  This procedure should be repeated until both teams achieve a high degree of consistency in their scoring.

Every effort should be made to avoid splitting a class among two teams.


Bonus points are given to boats that provide display materials that accurately document the boat’s history or tell the story involved in the process of restoration.  Display boards of original photographs or manufacture’s brochures are all worthy of additional points.  Nice displays make the exhibits far more interesting and meaningful to spectators which is the reason it is encouraged and extra points are given.  Up to 5 points are allowed for exceptional documentation.

Larger Classes

Boats in the more popular or larger classes are judged on their own merits rather than in competition with each other. In a large class such as utilities, there could easily be two or three boats that deserve first place recognition.  Rather than trying to identify one of these boats as being slightly better than another in its class, the judges are encouraged to recommend that all boats scoring over 92 points (as an example) will receive first place recognition in their class.  In this way points are correctly awarded to each boat based on its own merit. I f more than one boat scores above the pre-established norm for 1st place, then each boat scoring in the 1st place norm is given a 1st place trophy.  This system allows a good “user” boat to score as well as a good “show boat” and both could receive similar trophies in the same class.

Scoring Point Ranges:

 92 points to 100 points = 1st Place ("Best" Award name)
 84 points to 91 points = 2nd Place      ("Award name")
 78 points to 83 points = 3rd Place       ("Award name")

Modest Numbers in some Classes

Some years, in a particular class, there are only a few boats or even just one boat entered.  The judges are not obliged to give any class awards if none of the boats in a particular class is worthy of receiving first, second, or third place points.  If, for example, the only boat entered in this class scores 88 points, then it is appropriate for it to receive the 2nd place award.  In this case there would be no 1st place award in that class.

Hierarchy of Awards

Generally, it is wise to spread out the awards to as many different participants as possible.  To accomplish this fairly, the highest-scoring boat in a class should receive the highest ranking award for which it is eligible.

For example, the award for the best overall utility boat may be a more prestigious honor than the best Hutchinson award, if the best Hutchinson happens to be a utility.  However, if there are a variety of boats from a particular builder the best Hutchinson might be a sedan or a runabout.  If a boat is awarded the highest award for which it is eligible, then it is not necessary to give it any of the lesser awards, which it might win if boats are allowed to win multiple awards.  If, for example, the show awarded a prize for “the boat of the year”, that would be the highest ranking award.  The boat that wins that award would not be selected to receive lesser awards even though it clearly was the best in class and even the best of one of the other special manufactures’ awards.

There are some cases where multiple awards to the same entry may occur.  The Peoples’ Choice Award is given to whatever boat is selected even if it is a second award for that boat. Best presented display and best costume may also be given to boats that win other awards.

Every boat that deserves an award should receive one.  By spreading out the awards where it is appropriate, we provide recognition to more participants.  This will often encourage participants to improve their boats and return to the show again in the future.



Because this is a "User" Boat show, engine hatches are not opened.

Motorized boats are expected to arrive under their own power.  The dock master should report any boats that do not arrive this way to the chief judge so that this information can influence its final score. If the decision is made not to judge inboard engines, then all craft with inboard power are given the full allotment of points for this category if they operate under their own power.  If the engine is not operational, appropriate points will be assigned by the chief judge upon inspection of the engine and determining the reason why it is not running.


Overall Goals

Judging must be consistent and fair.  The unique feature of this show is to recognize the value of “working” (user) vintage boats in the same event with pristine restorations.  Our committee actively encourages working boats to participate in this show along with museum quality craft.  This show awards a wide range of vintage boats in which the less frequently used “show boats” do not hold a special advantage over well maintained “working” boats.  Both types of boats can, and should, be winners in this popular event.  This event also encourages the participation of Replica and Contemporary Classic boats, however, because this is a "Vintage Boat Show", and these boats are not actual Historic, Antique or Classic crafts, they are not eligible for judging but they are eligible to win a Peoples Choice Award.   

Typical Award Categories


Series / Type:
 100 /  Utility
 200 /  Runabout
 300 /  Cruiser

 400 /  Sedan

 500 /  Launch
 600 /  Replica- (Not Judged)

 700 /  Outboard Boat

 800 /  Outboard Motor
 900 /  Non-powered Craft
 1000 / Race Boat
 1100 / Sail Boat

Special Awards:

 Renaissance Cup – By application

 People’s Choice – All entries are eligible by ballot

 Best of Show

 Judges Choice
 Andy Rae Memorial, Outstanding Craftsmanship
 John Wells Memorial, Best Historic Preservation (Up to 1918)

 AntiqueBoat of the Year (1919-1942)

 ClassicBoat of the Year (1943-1975)


For Informational Purposes Only

Early Contemporary A wooden boat built 1976 to the year 25 prior to the current year.
Late Contemporary: A wooden boat built within the last 25 years to present.

In 2011 the Early Contemporary period ends with boats built in 1986

 Best Land Display
 Best Vendor Display

 The “River Rat” – by donor

 Builders Awards:
 Chris Craft

 Gar Wood
 Canadian Built

Typical Team Assignment for Judges:
 Team # 1  – Utilities
 Team # 2  – Runabouts

 Team # 3  – Cruisers and Launches
 Team # 4  – Sedans, Outboard Boats, Outboard Motors & Non-powered Craft
 Team # 5* – Land Displays, Vendor Displays and Special Awards.

                 *This team will be made up of the Chief Judge, Chapter President and Boat Show


Note: Final team assignments are usually based upon the assortment of boats entered in a given

         year so that the work load is as equitable as possible for each team. 


Questions? E-mail: Questions for the Chief Judge