Of the four boats I recently had the pleasure of putting through their paces at the Sea Ray facility in Vonore, Tenn., my pick for “flat-out most fun to drive” was the new 240 Sundeck Outboard. Rigged with an upgraded Mercury 300XL Verado, this powerhouse went from zero to 30 miles per hour in 6.8 seconds and topped out just shy of 60 at full throttle. Cruise was a confident 35 miles per hour.
Speed and acceleration alone, however, do not make for overall performance. I credit the 240 Sundeck’s 21-degree hull and lifting strakes with allowing the deckboat to handle more like a sporty runabout. Traditional deckboat designs have flatter bottoms that can slip in turns and slap when crossing wakes and waves. I encountered neither of these thanks to the Sea Ray’s deep-V base. Curves were carved. Surf was sliced.
Can you tell I was really impressed with the ride? I was.
This mid-year introduction to the Sundeck line comes standard with a four-cylinder 200XL Mercury Verado, and there’s also a six-cylinder 250XL Mercury Verado option for those who want to split the difference. What’s notable about all of the power choices is, well, the power choices. Until this year, you’ve only been able to get a new Sea Ray Sundeck with sterndrive propulsion. Now, you can get this 240 model and its 220 sibling with sterndrive or outboard applications.
The two versions of the 240 Sundeck are almost identical, with the only real differences coming aft of the transom, where you have a seat pad and swim steps (outboard) rather than a full-width sun pad and swim platform (sterndrive). These are necessary adjustments to fit an outboard’s powerhead and mounting bracket, but the trade off is the ability to trim the engine to improve efficiency and shallow water maneuvering. Tilting the motor all the way out of the water can also reduce saltwater corrosion, and outboards are easier to access for maintenance or repairs.
The rest of the 240 Sundeck is more or less what you’d expect in a new Sea Ray boat model. Smart design. Desirable features. Fine details.
At the nose is a fully finished locker with telescoping ladder and room for an anchor, complete with a tie-off for the rode. Storage under the wraparound bow lounges lies beneath pads that are hinged to open vertically for much easier loading and unloading. These compartments are fully glassed, too, with drains to ship any water runoff. Grab handles are stainless steel, as are the cup holders. The whole area is larger than in previous years because the new model uses narrower coamings, pushing everything out for more elbowroom.
Two locking in-floor storage compartments, one in the bow and one in the cockpit, have gas struts to keep the hatches open and combine to form one giant cargo hold — probably big enough to hold a stand-up paddleboard, certainly a surfboard or fishing gear. In the starboard console is storage for the standard cockpit table; in the port console is a head with a wood bulkhead and slotted cubbies for storing smaller items. A Corian countertop is optional here.
Sea Ray has also updated the helm over previous models, adding a new soft-touch dash with top-stitching and incorporating a cubby for your handheld devices. Standard SmartCraft instrumentation provides real-time diagnostics, and glass gauge lenses and low-glare blue night lighting offer greater visibility while driving. There’s also a new luxe sport wheel and available flush-mounted GPS chartplotter.
A reversible, doublewide bench to port goes from forward-facing to aft-facing with just a lift and slide. More seating options mean more usability. The rest of the cockpit consists of an L-shaped lounge with cooler storage below. Foldout cup holders in the aft section of the backrest are a clever touch. A transom walkthrough leads back to the starboard side swim step, so you won’t have to climb over anyone or anything.
In short, this deckboat is set up for maximum comfort and convenience — for up to 13 people — with praiseworthy fit and finish. Options like a watersports tower and eye-catching colors and graphics create a model that’s also highly customizable. And while you’re personalizing your Sea Ray 240 Sundeck Outboard, don’t forget to opt for that 300XL Verado. Va va voom! www.searay.com
Sea Ray 240 Sundeck Outboard
Length Overall: 23 feet, 10 inches
Beam: 8 feet, 6 inches
Draft: 1 foot, 10 inches
Dry Weight: 4,010 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 55 gallons
Water Capacity (optional): 9 gallons
Max. Power: 300 horsepower
Base Price: $70,629