Sea Ray SLX 350

Reinvention through reimagination.

by Capt. Tom Serio
The old adage “new and improved” is a bit of an oxymoron. How can something be improved if it’s new, and vice versa?

Specifications

  • LOA: 34'6"
  • Beam: 10'6"
  • Draft: 3'3"
  • Weight: 13,890 lbs.
  • Fuel Capacity: 177 gals.
  • Water Capacity: 30 gals.
  • Power: 2x Mercury 350-hp Verado outboard engines
  • Price: Contact dealer

searay.com

Sea Ray introduced a new SLX 350 recently, but they already had one. So, is it truly new and improved? After careful review of the details and a spirited sea trial, it’s apparent what they did; Sea Ray reinvented the SLX 350 through reimagination. 

Power up

A significant change to the SLX 350 is that it now comes with outboard power. Bolt on a few Mercury Verado outboard gas engines and enjoy the freedom. Maintenance issues have improved with the outboards versus the inboard/outboard configuration. There are no sterndrives to deal with, damaged u-joints or ripped bellows. And the inboard powerplants were housed in an ever-so-cozy engine room. Nowadays, performance with outboards is far better than even just 10 years ago. They run cleaner and are much quieter, too.

Our test ride for the day, hull No. 1 with twin Mercury 350-hp Verado inline 6-cylinder outboards, didn’t disappoint from a performance aspect. Keith Miller, Sea Ray’s regional business manager, took me through the boat and out for a ride to run through the steps. Miller was well-versed with the features and specifics of the 350, answering all my questions with the zest and passion of a proud dad.  

From the speed aspect, the 350 is quick to respond when the throttles are pushed. In the range up to 10 mph, the burn rate stays well below 10 gph and range is up to 500 nm with full tanks.

Nudge the controls to 4000 RPM and the 350 hits 30 mph, burning 23.6 gph. This is a nice, comfortable speed and a sweet spot for the Dynamic Running Surface. We were able to pin the tach at 5500 RPM, getting the needle to 46 mph — a great cut of speed when needed.

Handling was impressive too. Sea Ray’s Dynamic Running Surface automatically optimizes the attitude and trim, thanks to large, triangular planes at the aft corners that are contoured to the hull bottom. These trim tabs also improve acceleration and reduce bow rise. They are ideal for wakeboarders as they can shape the wake height and size.

For close maneuverability, there’s the standard Mercury joystick feature. Even with outboards, Mercury has tuned the engines precisely to move the 350 in any direction the joystick is pointed or twisted. No need for a bow thruster when the joystick is dialed in perfectly.

From the helm, visibility is excellent in all directions. With a few hard-over turns, the 350 responds relatively flat at lower RPM’s, but puts a little shoulder into it at higher speeds. In either case, the operator retains full control from the responsive hydraulic steering and deep-V hull with a 21-degree deadrise at the transom.

At the con

Sea Ray has teamed up with Simrad as a default electronics vendor. With more than 50 years in the technology arena, Simrad components can be fully integrated with Mercury Marine components, including Mercury’s VesselView. With a plug-and-play data interface, this was a no-brainer for Sea Ray.

At first glance, the helm panel is a piece of blackened glass. Flush mounted are two 9-inch Simrad multifunction displays, making up the Sea Ray Glass Dash console. Even if opting for the larger 12-inch displays, the screens are bright and sharp, and can be toggled through displays including radar, fish finder, charts and engine stats. The dash is sharp-looking, with a bank of buttons below for key systems and a Fusion stereo controller to the left. SmartCraft digital throttle controls and joystick are to the far right on a shelf. Ergonomically it feels better to keep your right arm lower on the sticks as opposed to reaching towards the helm all the time. And the joystick is well-positioned even if standing backward when heading in reverse. An Isotta Pachu power-assisted tilt steering wheel adds to the style.

Now take a seat

Another stand-out feature is the capacity for seating. You can invite friends but you need to make sure all will have a seat when cruising. Sea Ray has boasted about its carrying capabilities before, but with a few changes with the SLX 350, they have really committed to making sure that up to 18 persons can be seated at any given time.

Sea Ray expanded the portside settee, adding end cushions to the existing configuration, as well as a large fold-out rectangular teak dining table. To starboard is a curved settee just behind the twin helm seat. Next to that is the on-deck wetbar with stainless sink, Isotherm fridge with pullout drawers, storage and trash. Opt for the Kenyon electric grill to complete your noshing needs. Want more storage? Then look underneath the seats. Many have hinged seat bottoms revealing cavernous compartments. 

More seating is up forward in the open bow. Arrange the cushions, tables and filler pieces for several seating options, including face-to-face, individual lounger seats or a large sunpad.

Aft on the transom is another large seating area. When closed, it’s a casual flat bench. Flip open the back and it’s an aft-facing, cushioned settee. There’s a platform that pulls out from underneath to be used as a footrest. There are more storage compartments back here, including one that is flush to the deck and takes some of the vacant space from the engine room.

Cabin fever

Not to be forgotten, the 350 has two cabins within the consoles that are sure to delight. Under the portside console is a mini hideaway, with hull window, cushioned seats and filler pads for sleeping — a nice option for the kids or a weekend overnighter. The starboard helm console cabin houses a vacuum-flush head, molded fiberglass liner with sink, vent, wood shelf and a 27-gallon holding tank. If planning to spend time onboard, opt for the TV in the port cabin, as well as AC in both cabins.

Keeping everyone cool is the integrated carbon fiber-reinforced hardtop. Offering protection from sun and rain, this is a sporty component that adds to the style of the SLX 350. Add in Bimini curtains for all-weather boating and/or the canvas sunshade in the hardtop. A retractable shade for the aft deck can be added to the hardtop.

Credit has to be given to Sea Ray for its storage utilization. There are storage compartments underneath almost every seat and in-deck, cup holders everywhere and power/USB outlets in multiple locations. Included is a dedicated storage spot for a large cooler underneath the center bow seat.

Sea Ray adds in many more features and options into the SLX 350, including a Fusion Apollo stereo systems with 6.5-inch speakers and a 10-inch subwoofer, a battery charger, double diamond-stitched upholstery, a pressurized water system, carpeting, teak flooring, additional electronics, a shore power package, a water heater and much more.

Let your imagination run wild with the new and improved Sea Ray SLX 350. 

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