Sea Ray’s new for 2013 280 Sundeck brings the nimble handling that power steering and DTS controls offer, but her main attraction is probably how well she handles long days on the hook. Her aft sunpad offers multiple configurations, a theme that Sea Ray has really gotten the hang of as of late. Her forward lounge seats are as comfortable as a home chaise, and if grilling is the game plan, she’s got that covered as part of the generous options packages available. All in a size that accommodates a dozen people, all day and twice on Sundays.
Swim platform with faux teak inserts
Available in black, blue, burgundy, red and 2-tone gel-coat finishes
L-shaped cockpit lounger that converts to 4 configurations
Large head compartment with vanity, sink, and portable head
MerCruiser 350 MAG ECT Bravo III and Digital Throttle and Shift
SmartCraft Diagnostics System
Solid-surface cockpit entertainment center
Sony AM/FM CD player with digital display remote and iPod connector
Sea Ray 280 Sundeck (2013-) Specifications
28' 8.53 m
42'' 107 cm
8'10'' 2.69 m
42'' 107 cm
85 gal. 322 L
20 gal. 76 L
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.
Sea Ray 280 Sundeck (2013-)Engine options
1 x 300-hp Mercruiser 350MAG MPI ECT Bravo III DTS
Here we see what a deckboat is made to do -- be a watersports platform for swimming, tubing, and beaching. The 4-step beach boarding ladder seen here is standard. The Sea Ray 280's high freeboard gives her added functionality because she is dryer in larger bodies of water with a deeper, more secure cockpit, which is important when young children are aboard.
Deckboat Back Story
Originally deckboats were made for small bodies of water that were protected and the primary reason for the deck boat design was to be a low-cost, movable dive platform for swimming, tubing, beach boarding, with extra room in the bow seating area.
New Challenges. But that was before wakeboarding became popular -- and before people started using these boats in larger bodies of water. Low freeboard, lightweight, wet boats were not very good at that, particularly in larger bodies of water where wakeboards often seem to hang out. Most of the first generation of deckboats did not have swim platforms that extended beyond their lower units when in the down position. Because the boats were intended to be a swimming platform, that was problematical.
Safer, Dryer. Further, because of the speed of the vessels, parents were concerned about the relative modest cockpit depth in some of the early deckboats. By building a deckboat with more beef, more freeboard, and more up-scale amenities, the Sea Ray 280 Sundeck becomes a vessel that can be used in saltwater, the Great Lakes, or virtually any body of water. The added freeboard also allows the cockpit to be deeper.
The Sea Ray 280 Sundeck is for people who want a higher caliber boat.
● Up-Market Build Quality. During the last two years Sea Ray has consciously up-graded the quality of its boats in a dozen small ways that include upholstery, styling, deck coverings, cushion and seat design as well as the addition of some amenities, such as stern shower, Bimini top, a cockpit table, and SeaDec matting on the swim platform.
● Size and Beef. The dry weight of the 280 is 5,276 lbs. (2,597 kgs.) and this plus her 8’10” (2.69 m) beam – 4” wider than most boats in class – combine to give this deckboat more weight than many others.
In entertainment mode the 280 Sundeck can comfortably seat 7-8 people behind the helm. The size of the boat permits a large wet bar (at left) which can be optioned out many ways.
● Propulsion Package. Sea Ray has not stinted on the propulsion system and related electronics. The standard engine is the 300-hp Mercury 350 MAG ECT with Bravo III lower unit with twin counter-rotating props.
● Instruments and Controls. The boat comes standard with Mercury digital throttle and shift (DTS), SmartCraft diagnostics, power-assist steering and trim and tilt drive. This is about as complete as it gets.
● Swim Platform. The 280 Sundeck has a large swim platform that is an extension and is bolted on to the transom. This not only becomes a good launching pad for watersports, but also covers the lower unit when it is in the down position.
● Higher Freeboard. In addition to her slightly wider beam, which is carried well forward to make her bow seating larger, the 280 also has higher freeboard than a number of deckboats on the market, particularly the inexpensive ones. This is the major feature of the Sea Ray Sundeck Series that sets them apart from many boats in class.
The helm console is clean with instrument clusters just below the captain's line of sight. The tan dash reduces glare in the windshield. Windshield wiper is standard.
A chartplotter, Garmin GPSMap 640, is optional and only really needed if traveling to unfamiliar waters. But if needed, there is plenty of room for it.
Standard Equipment (Partial List)
• Head compartment with vanity, sink, removable toilet, mirror, light and lock • Stereo with Bluetooth and media input jacks • Cockpit wet bar with solid surface counter, ss sink, faucet, pressure water and carry-on cooler • 4-step bow beach boarding ladder • Bimini top with boot • Snap-in carpet • Insulated cooler built into the bow • Cockpit table with dedicated storage space • Gel coated engine room • Pressure water system with 3 sprayers and 20-gallon (76 L) tank • Hydraulic trim tabs
In sunning mode the 280 Sundeck has prime real estate forward with two, very long chaise seats forward. Note the arm rests both inboard and outboard. An acrylic air dam in the walkthrough is standard.
In the stern, the cockpit seat back morphs into back rests for lounging to port or starboard, depending on where the sun is. Note that the swim platform extends beyond the lower unit when in the down position. There is a wet storage compartment in the transom.
The 280 Sundeck has a laundry list of options that allow consumers to direct the boat to any particularly watersport function or specialized use. Visit the builder's website for a complete list.
Well-Equipped. The 280 Sundeck is remarkably well-equipped as standard and when comparing boats, consumers should take careful inventory of options and costs to get an idea of pricing on an apples-to-apples basis. When we looked down the options list, we found only two things that we consider a "must" on any boat of this type -- a battery switch with tray for a second battery, and a cockpit or mooring canvas cover.
All in the Family. Finally, as we think everyone knows by this time, Sea Ray is owned by Brunswick Corp., which also makes Mercury sterndrive propulsion systems and related instruments and controls. For those who remember the days when Sea Ray, Mercury and dealers went around-and-around as to who would take responsibility when something went wrong with the propulsion system -- things have changed. There is new top management at both Mercury and Sea Ray and all are agreed that the consumer comes first.
Top-Tier Positioning. Sea Ray has positioned its deckboats at the high end of the market in terms of build, capabilities, amenities, quality of finish and price. As such, she becomes an important benchmark for anyone considering a large deckboat.
Standard and Optional Equipment
Sea Ray 280 Sundeck (2013-) Standard and Optional Equipment
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc
= Standard = Optional
Sea Ray 280 Sundeck (2013-) Warranty
Sea Ray 280 Sundeck (2013-) Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.