Sea Ray created the SLX series to offer added upscale features to a select segment of their boats. The 300 SLX is the largest of that series and it’s loaded with premium features that should appeal to people who like all of the bells and whistles and a bit classier feel. Because of her size, she also handles crowds well and her handling makes her a versatile watersports platform.
"Spoiler" Fiberglass Arch.
We normally call this a radar arch or towing tower, but since Sea Ray has their own design that has an integral Bimini top that can be used for towing, the builder calls this a "spoiler." No matter what it is called it is usually an option. We think Sea Ray has done a fine job of making this arch look cool. •
Axius Joystick Drive Available.
Joystick functionality at the dock when opting for a twin-engine package. •
Garmin GPS Map 640 Chartplotter.
This is standard on the 300 SLX where typically any GPS is an option.•
MerCruiser 8.2 MAG ECT.
This 380-hp engine with Bravo III and Digital Throttle and Shift is standard. Optional twin-engine upgrade available.•
System standard. •
SmartCraft Vessel View Display.
Available with twin gasoline engine applications.
The toilet also has a 20-gal. holding tank, as well as a vanity with sink, faucet and pullout shower sprayer.•
This design reduces drag and completely eliminates any Bimini vibration or rattling while underway. A cockpit cover, storage bag and Tonneau cover are also standard.•
Electric Life Engine Hatch.
This is helpful to have and are often optional.•
Automatic Fire Suppression System.
It also has a manual pull. •
6 10" Mooring Cleats.
Not 4 but 6, not 6" or 8", but 10". •
Center Transom Walkthrough.
Most sportboats have a walkthrough to the cockpit on the starboard or port side. The 300 SLX goes down the middle and I think it looks cool and slightly retro.•
Dual-Use Aft-Forward Facing Lounge Seat.
Most boats these days have dual or triple-use aft seats on the larger sportboats, but none that we know of have done it quite the way as we found it on the 300 SLX. It is comfortable, large, and easy to arrange. •
Quiet Ride Technology.
This is not a sales gimmick. We measured significantly lower noise levels from best cruise to WOT. See below.
Standard Features We Like to See
The Sea Ray 300 SLX has a number of other items that we often see on the options list of some other builders and we are glad to see them included in the 300 SLX package. They are--• Snap-in carpet• Cockpit table (the forward table is optional)• Dual battery crossover switch• Integral arm rests• Wet bar with solid surface counter top, ss sink and faucet• Gel coating engine room• High water alarm
Options We Would Order
For people planning to use the boat for towing, I would suggest the optional extended swim platform. It is really not needed for just cruising and using the boat as a swim platform. As regular readers know we like colored hulls, and so I recommend the two tone pattern and a choice of four colors. For people keeping their boats in salt water, I would also suggest the OceanX anti-corrosion system on the lower unit. There are many more options available than these, just visit the builder's website. With them, buyers can customize the boat to any one of several missions.
Comparison With Other Boats in Class
When we compare the 300 SLX with other boats in class we see that 30' (9.14 m) is the size and weight where builders begin putting twin engines in the boats. In fact, most boats that we looked at in class have twin engines. It is here that the added weight of the second engine and lower unit -- which is typically slightly over 1,000 lbs (454 kgs.) -- offsets to a large degree the extra horsepower contributed by the second engine.
When we look at top speeds we see that some of the 300-hp twin-powered boats do go as much as 8 mph faster, but some twins go about the same at WOT. So a twin-engine rig is not necessarily a slam dunk for speedsters. The correct prop geometry and overall boat set-up are also important in overcoming the weight penalty imposed by the second propulsion system.
At cruise speed there seems to be no contest. While the 300 SLX goes from 2-4-mph slower at best cruise, its fuel consumption is from 4 to 6 gallons (15 to 22 L) per hour giving it the best mpg and greatest range of any of the twin-powered boats in class that we looked at. What exactly were the 300's performance numbers? Take a look--
The Sea Ray 300 SLX has a LOA of 29'6" (8.99 m), a beam of 9'8" (2.95 m) and a draft of 38'' (96.5 cm). With an empty weight of 7,700 lbs. (3493 kgs.) 43 gallons (162.8 L) of fuel and two people onboard we had a test weight of 8,377 lbs. (3,800 kgs.).With the 380-hp MerCruiser 8.2 MAG turning a Bravo III outdrive with dual props we reached a top speed at 4750 rpm of 46.8 mph. At that speed fuel burn was 31.75 GPH giving us a range of 172 miles.
Best cruise came in at 3000 rpm and 26.1 mph. That reduced the fuel burn to just under 11 gph, which the 300 SLX could maintain for 10 hours and 42 minutes and 279 miles while still maintaining a 10% reserve. We had a time to plane of 5.5 seconds and reached 30 mph and 11 seconds.
When accelerating the 300 SLX, the bow comes up 12-degrees and then comes down 5.5 seconds later. This produces no loss of visibility to the horizon. I found the 300 SLX sensitive to trim and it doesn't take a lot to get her into her cruise attitude. Just bring the trim up a couple of shots and that will be all it takes to move the spray from the helm to the stern quarters and generate the accompanying boost in speed. Adding more trim will ventilate the propellers. It's also important to bring the trim down before beginning any maneuvers.
She's responsive to the helm and I found the 300 to provide an interesting combination of sportboat handling while maintaining a solid feel to the ride. I didn't find slipping or jumping on the turns, but rather she remained smooth and comfortable throughout. It's easy to see the advantages of a boat this size when switching between entertaining and watersports modes -- she can do both with agility.
Our test boat had the optional extended swim platform ($3,077) that added 2’ 8” (.81 m) to the length overall and it measures 6'5" (1.95 m) wide. A three-step reboarding ladder to the port side.
A molded-in swim platform comes out 1’9” (.53 m) from the transom and has two insulated self-draining storage compartments to either side. There's an optional stereo remote ($308) at the transom as well as a standard transom shower.
Access to the cockpit is via a centerline walkthrough with two sun pads to either side. The starboard sun pad opens to reveal a flip out filler cushion that occupies the center walkthrough and turns the entire aft area into a sun pad measuring 7’ (2.1 m) wide. Additionally, there is a storage compartment under each of the sun pads that are self draining and both are supported by dual gas struts and very beefy 14” (35.6 cm) stainless steel hinges. The hatches are held in the closed position by magnetic catches. They make good places to put wet swimsuits and life vests as the heat from the engine will quickly dry them out.
Entering the cockpit by the centerline walkthrough leads to steps created by removing a filler cushion for both the aft bench seat base and seatback. Leaving the filler cushions removed leaves two double-wide seats to port and starboard measuring 36” (99 cm) wide with handles at the bottom. Lifting those handles elevates the forward facing seat to convert them into aft facing loungers that work in conjunction with the two sun pad cushions. There is a flip-out arm that will hold the seats in the open position for use as a lounge. Additionally, there is access to the storage area just ahead of the engine compartment by lifting the seats. In this way two independent lounge seats can be created, much like we see on a beach. By inserting the filler cushion a sun pad is created. All in all it's a clever setup that Sea Ray has engineered well.
The cockpit has plenty of seating starting with the aft bench seats that hold five across (with the filler cushions in place), front and back seating to the port side and a double wide seat to starboard facing the center of the cockpit. An over wide seat faces the helm. This is an optional seating arrangement called Archibald Nolan seating. The standard seating arrangement replaces the starboard seat with a wet bar, which seems much more practical for a boat that holds so many people. The wet bar includes a solid surface countertop with a stainless steel sink, a grab handle, trash receptacle, and a storage area below.
There is sole storage in between the two seats that is wide but not very long. The caprails on top of the cockpit measures 6” (15.2 cm) wide and are treated with nonskid.
The standard arch is constructed of fiberglass with cast aluminum supports and Bimini top extending both fore and aft. The tow point is 6'8" off the deck. There are LED lights underneath. The Bimini top is designed much like an airplane wing in that it is curved at the top. Sea Ray tells us that this reduces drag. My experience testing Sea Ray boats with this design shows that they remain stable and solid throughout all maneuvers and vibration and rattling is completely eliminated. If it happens to the aerodynamic as well, so be it.
Clever Portside Seat
The port side back-to-back seats are an old concept but Sea Ray has a completely new take on the subject. Instead of just collapsing down to form a sun pad the back can be shifted all the way forward or back. There is a credit card-size handle that, when lifted, allows the seat back to slide. Its back rest moves on a metal track with ball bearings and slides easily with one hand. To the portside bulwarks there is storage with a shelf taking up the center of the storage thereby doubling the storage space. Aft of the seating arrangement there is a hatch in the port side bulwarks concealing the battery switch.
The helm is orderly with six gauges, one being a standard SmartCraft gauge, all showing analog displays but connected to digital wiring and senders. There is a sizable area before the panel allowing storage for small items such as sun tan lotion and sunglasses. All of the rocker switches are protected at the sides from accidental activation and they are lighted at the ends to show when activated. A Garmin GPS Map 640 is included as standard equipment. Additional SmartCraft gauges can be added as desired ($1,531 ea.)
Standard equipment is the Mercury DTS or Digital Throttle and Shift System which has a keyless ignition. The leather wrapped steering wheel is mounted to a tilt base and the stereo remote is over to the port hand side of the helm. There is storage both under the helm seat and to the starboard side of the helm.
To the port side is a head compartment that also can function as a changing room as it is so large (remember the beam is 9'8"/ 2.94 m wide). There is an opening portlight and plenty of storage, in addition to a pullout sprayer. The VacuFlush head with a 20 gallon (75.7 L) holding tank is standard. There is an option for a macerator ($915) but check local regulations, and then stick with the holding tank anyway.
The bow walkthrough measures 22” (55.9 cm) wide and the opening windshield is 27” (68.6 cm) wide. It is held in the open position by a positive latch mechanism. There is an air dam that is flush mounted to the starboard bulkhead and when the air dam is opened a secondary door is revealed allowing access to the starboard console.
Bow seating is quite comfortable with contoured armrests leading to stainless steel grab handles. The seating starts at 17” (43.2 cm) wide and increases to 23” (50.4 cm) wide and the portside seatback opens up from the bottom and lifts upward to reveal storage to the area just ahead of the head. There is dedicated storage for both the standard side mount cockpit table and the optional bow table.
There is storage under both port and starboard seats and the cushions are hinged from the back so they lift from the forward and a cooler is in the center, fully forward under the forward cushion. At the foredeck there is a self draining anchor locker but there is no anchor keeper.
The five-across seating and sun pads all lift by way of an electrically actuated ram to gain access to the engine compartment. There is plenty of storage ahead of the engine, for tools and the like, and this storage area is also accessed by lifting up the seat cushions. I'd like to see the opening to the engine compartment be increased as the hatch only comes up 17” (43.2 cm), so to do any engine checks you've got to crawl through that narrow opening.
A fixed, automatic firefighting system is standard. There are also definite examples of the noise suppression devices used in the Quiet Ride Technology. Let's talk about that.
Quiet Ride Technology
Our tests recorded a reading of 77 dBA at best cruise (3000 rpm) and only 81 dBA at WOT (4750 rpm). This is a huge reduction over most boats in class. The noticeably reduced sound level is part of Sea Ray’s "quiet ride" technology. By engineering noise reduction into the build process with features such as a proprietary tuned transom, inner laminate material, engineered fit-and-finish of all components to reduce vibration, and full beam bulkheads with acoustical insulation, there’s less operator and passenger fatigue. Now a casual conversation in the cockpit is possible, even while at cruise speed. The difference is immediately noticeable -- no meter is needed.
The Sea Ray 300 SLX has a base price of $175,129 when powered with the 380-hp MerCruiser 8.2 MAG engine. I think this is plenty of power for this boat but twin engine options are available as long as buyers are willing to write the check. Twin 300 hp 350 MAG’s will add $20,492, and using these engines with Axius will add $41,892.
I think the 300 SLX has a lot going for her. Among the perks that her size presents is indeed, the ability to carry a lot of people, and do it in style. This type of boat is not generally intended to be a second boat, but likely the primary boat. And as a primary boat she is ready for most anything. I found the 300 SLX to be one of the most innovative boat's in class and Sea Ray engineers and designers can be proud of the job they have done. And owners can be proud of her, too.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Sea Ray 300 SLX (2013-) is 46.8 mph (75.3 kph), burning 31.75 gallons per hour (gph) or 120.17 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Sea Ray 300 SLX (2013-) is 26.1 mph (42 kph), and the boat gets 2.38 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.01 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 279 miles (449.01 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 380-hp MerCruiser 8.2 MAG.
Standard and Optional Features
|Carpet: Cockpit||Standard Snap-in|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|