What is a Classic?

What is a Classic?

Boat ownership isn’t a requirement of membership for ACBS or the Michigan Chapter. We welcome members whether or not they own a boat. A member only needs to have interest in vintage boats and boating to enjoy membership in this organization.

While the judging of classic boats is not the primary function of The Antique and Classic Boat society, Inc. (ACBS) and its chapters, it does create an incentive to restore and maintain vessels of interest to a high level of quality. This promotes pride of ownership and a concern for authenticity, which is then recognized through the presentation of awards.

Many members appreciate the experience of having their boat judged at a boat show to help them learn about how to improve their boat’s originality or condition. Others simply want to “go classic boating” and many fall somewhere in between.

For those interested in the judging side of vintage boat ownership, we provide the following information about the judging guidelines. Members have access to the full judging guideline document at myacbs.org.


The International ACBS currently recognizes the following five age categories of boats at their Annual Boat Show:
  • Historic: A boat built up to and including 1918
  • Antique: A boat built between 1919 and 1942, inclusive.
  • Classic: A boat built between 1943 and 1975, inclusive.
  • Late Classic: A boat built after 1975 through the year 25 years prior to the current year. (In 2017, the Late Classic period ends with boats built in 1992.)
  • Contemporary: A wooden boat built within the last 25 years.

Within those age categories, ACBS recognizes the following classes of boats, most with “Preserved” and “Restored” sub-classes:
  • Powered Classes:
    • Runabout
    • Launch
    • Utility
    • Racer
    • Outboard Boat
    • Dispro
    • Cruiser
    • Commuter
    • Yacht Tender
    • Steam / Naphtha
    • Sailboat w/ Aux
    • Workboat
  • Non-Powered Classes:
    • Sailboat w/o Aux
    • Sailing Canoe Decked
    • Sailing Canoe Open
    • Paddling Canoe
    • Adirondack Guideboat
    • Rowing Skiff
    • Sailing Skiff
    • Scull
    • Rowboat – Tender, Dingy, Sharpie, Pram, Dory, Etc…

ACBS International does not prescribe the judging categories or awards line-up for the local chapter shows. Chapters may customize their boat show judging categories and awards to reflect local circumstances and heritage. As a result, the Michigan Chapter has developed the following judging categories for its various boat shows.


Algonac Boat Show:

Wood Runabout, Wood Utility, Wood Skiff / Launch, Wood Contemporary, Modified, Wood Outboard, Wood Cruiser, Youth, Classic Glass 25 years or older under 24’, Classic Glass 25 years or older over 25' / Cruiser, Aluminum outboards or runabouts, Owner Restored, and an annual Marquee Class.


Lexington Boat Show:

Not a judged show but various awards will be given.


Port Huron Boat Show:

Not a judged show but various awards will be given such as Mayor’s Award, Power Squadron Commander’s Choice, Michigan Chapter Commodore’s Choice, People’s Choice, Best of Fiberglass.


Port Sanilac Boat Show:

Utility, Cruiser, Runabout and other awards such as Best Transom and Best of Show.

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