Out reach Sea Ray extends range of power configurations with new 24-foot outboard motor boat

The Sea Ray Sundeck 240 outboard debuted at boat shows in 2013.

Easily able to accommodate up to 13 passengers surrounded with luxury touches, the 240 Sundeck Outboard brings a versatile, popular Sea Ray model up to a new speed.

Sea Ray wanted an alternative to its popular line of inboard/outboard-powered boats, notably because the engines can suffer from exposure docked in the salt water for too long whereas outboards are more suitable for the environment. In 2014, Sea Ray rolled out its standard-bearer 24 foot Sundeck synced for the first time to an outboard 250 horsepower Mercury Verado engine, calling it the Sea Ray Sundeck 240 Outboard. The move has succeeded for one of the largest boat manufacturers in the U.S.

What’s most impressive about it is there’s a 250 hp engine running and you can still carry on a conversation. Outboard motors tended to be loud but in recent years, engine makers have reduced the noise while tuning the power plants to travel further on a tank of fuel, he says.

“The outboard Sundeck has been very well accepted,” said McClellan, slowly maneuvering the boat from its docking spot at Charleston Harbor Marina. He cited a good number of sales this year. “Outboards are more dependable and quiet, the fuel mileage is better than in the past,” he said. At the same time, “You don’t have the motor sitting in the water” when docked.

Priced at $72,500, the Sea Ray 240 Sundeck Outboard offers a number of features that boat owners would find pleasurable.

The watercraft can carry a baker’s dozen passengers, McClellan said, making it adept at taking a sizable group on a spin around Charleston Harbor or to take the family out for tubing and other fun water sports.

Meanwhile, the boat boasts quick acceleration, able to reach 30 mph or so in a few seconds, McClellan said. With its Mercury engine, the Sea Ray can attain a top speed of “close to 50 mph. It runs real well,” the general manager said. The right-sided helm of the 24-footer includes an innovative seat that can sit flat at windshield level or raise up for a still sitting captain to see across the bow. The rack of gauges include speedometer, tachometer, fuel tank level and trim gauge. There’s also light switches and knobs for the audio system which boasts speakers fore and aft.

The throttle, which sits to the right of the captain’s wheel, includes a top button to “trim” the boat — matching speed and bow angle to cruise through the water with the least resistance.

The Sea Ray Sundeck 240 showcases a boatload of perks, including:

• Windshield visor and door between the cockpit and front that keeps people more protected when its windy and rainy.

• Scores of storage lockers built into the floor boards, sides and underneath the seats to carry wake boards, skis, fishing poles and clothing.

• Stainless steel ladder stored in a compartment at the bow of the boat. Next to the ladder fits a hand-held fresh water shower with hose that pulls out.

• Close to a dozen drink holders fitted around the sides of the boat and in various nooks.

• Vinyl seats with special stitching and materials for extra comfort.

• A head (toilet) tucked into a compartment next to the passenger seat in the boat’s central section.

The protective Bimini top is incorporated within the watersports tower, made extra durable for use in water sports. For instance, a tow rope can attach to the tower’s metal frame.

McClellan said the new 24-footer offers versatility, adding a tow bar and other features for water skiing and wake boarding while compatible for fishing and optimal on excursions across Charleston Harbor or on the area’s many rivers and creeks.

In a short time behind the wheel, the 240 Sundeck Outboard lives up to its description in boating periodicals as “sporty and spacious.”

The Sea Ray produced a smooth ride even on a choppy day with a deep V-hull that Sea Ray is famous for. The wheel turned easily when maneuvering the boat for the return trip to the dock, and the throttle accelerated and slowed the boat precisely. A 30-plus mph cruising speed provided for a comfortable, smooth and quiet ride.

Meanwhile, the seating arrangements are innovative including the raised and lowered positions at the helm and a passenger seat that can be flipped around to face the stern, such as when assisting a skier.

The outboard feature should prove popular for Sea Ray, as the 250 hp Mercury Verado motor ran quietly and efficiently.

The new Sea Ray Sundeck 240 Outboard will be one of 22 boats displayed at Hall Marine’s 15th Annual Boat and Yacht Expo and Sale through today and Sunday at Charleston Harbor Marina — Dock B in Mount Pleasant. The dealership sells Meridian yachts, and Boston Whaler, Sea Ray and locally built Scout boats. Hall Marine will feature models from each boat maker, McClellan said.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.