Some combinations sell themselves. It’s hard to argue with the delicious alchemy that is the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Equally irresistible is the recipe for Sea Ray’s new 230 SLX: two parts style, three parts performance, a smooth layer of comfort and a healthy dollop of fun. As Sport Boats go, the 230 SLX is hands down the best innovation since sliced bread.
“This is a boat you see and crave,” says Buzz Watkins, vice president and sales manager of Sail & Ski Center in Austin, Texas. “From a design perspective, for starters, the 230 is stylish. Sea Ray stepped up their game. They’ve given it a lot of attention to detail with interior treatments that resemble what modern luxury automobiles are doing—contrasting top-stitching, things like that. Everything feels really contemporary, really taken up a notch.”
But it’s the boat’s layout that Buzz finds most toothsome. “Customers demand one thing over and over a way to enter and exit the boat easily,” he explains. “In terms of accessibility, the 230 totally delivers on that.” The SLX features a dedicated path from the swim platform into the boat, guaranteeing surefooted admission. “There’s no compromise,” he adds. “You don’t have to remove cushions or convert anything.”
Onboard, the path is unobstructed as well. Heading from bow to stern, a black-framed, walk-through windshield opens invitingly. This solid, three-piece structure means increased visibility (sight-blocking side supports have been eliminated), while its tempered and tinted glass is built for the long haul. At the helm, driver-focused amenities immediately beg notice, from the power-assisted tilt wheel to the SmartCraft(R) diagnostic instruments and the chrome-accented throttle with power trim. Here Buzz points out another striking design detail: “Sea Ray added a matte finish to the wood paneling in the cockpit that’s just beautiful.”
When it comes to riding, both comfort and style share top billing. Two bucket seats come with flip-up thigh-rise bolsters and swivel/slide functions for customizable comfort for both the captain and portside passenger. A lockable glove box and cockpit side panels provide ample room for storage, as does the in-floor wakeboard locker with vinyl matting and gas-assisted lid. In the bow, two ergonomically designed lounges offer up even more storage. “It’s intentional space,” Buzz explains. “Every storage compartment feels ‘finished,’ seamlessly. It speaks to the quality of the line.”
An L-shaped aft bench seat features more built-in storage and a cooler beneath. Those who prefer to stretch out and take in the scenery will love the transom sunpad, which quickly converts to an aft-facing seat. “It’s perfect for when you’re anchored and playing off the back of the boat,” Buzz says. “You get lots of comfortable seating without it disturbing the interior space at all.” The integral swim platform is flush with the boat—“no transom wall to climb over,” Buzz notes—and includes a stainless steel, three-step ladder mounted underneath.
Watersports enthusiasts are rewarded by a sleek, black, forward-facing tower option that includes an integrated bimini top and anchor light, and adds an aggressive, sporty appearance to the boat. “The tower design is great,” Buzz says. “It’s easy to fold down and it really looks the part.” Further, Sea Ray has introduced Dynamic Running Surface (DRS), an innovative system that optimizes the boat’s performance and running attitude. DRS uses large, triangular trim tabs mounted underneath the hull to automatically keep the boat level in changing speed and sea conditions. For watersports enthusiasts, this translates into better handling, more comfortable turns, improved wake ramp for wakeboarders and a reduced wake size for water-skiers—all while maintaining speed.
Speaking of speed: the 230 SLX is a robust performer that gets its muscle from an optimized selection of engine choices ranging from the standard MerCruiser® 5.0L MPI (260 hp) with Bravo® III drive to a 350 MAG (300 hp) with the Bravo III and DTS. Other add-ons and upgrades include SeaDek® padding for the swim pad, an air compressor for water toys, indirect blue LED lighting, and even a Boatmate® Platinum Premium Trailer with color-matched paint scheme, radial tires and Sea Ray backlit logo.
In other words, if it’s boating adventure you hunger for, the 230 SLX really satisfies.