Sea Ray 230 Sundeck

The new 230 Sundeck is obviously a movable party platform, but how did it live up to our performance expectations?

The wide footprint of the Sea Ray 230 Sundeck offers exactly what boaters look for in a deck boat: party space.

Our tour started when we stepped onto the extended platform bolted firmly to the integrated platform. A walk-through transom made passage into the cockpit easy. In the walkway, a large hatch opens to reveal a molded tub that can be used for ski-rope storage or to fill with ice and drinks.

Once onboard, it's apparent that Sea Ray's focus was on maximizing interior space and cockpit depth. The higher gunwales give parents of young children peace of mind. Sea Ray managed to include a head compartment without crowding up the cockpit. Though the footprint is broadened to accommodate more seats — say, two more — the boat's sleek profile is retained, giving this people mover a sporty appeal.

The MerCruiser engine has the service conveniences of an on-point engine-block drain system that makes winterizing quite easy. Hydraulic trim and gearcase fluids can be checked visually in the see-through reservoirs under the engine cover. For wiring, Sea Ray has swapped circuit-breaker panels for automotive fuse panels. That, they say, is to improve reliability. We'd ask our dealer to add the optional battery switch for isolating the battery to protect it from discharge during storage.

The 230 Sundeck throttled up nicely to a top speed just shy of 50 miles per hour. More impressive was the fuel economy at 3,000 rpm and 21 mph (3.3 gallons per hour). Bump the throttle up for an hour-long cruise and expect to lose a third of that economy. SmartCraft instruments let you manage fuel so you can boat more on less gas.

Sea Ray builds a solid hull, capable of handling rough waters. We appreciate that.

Notable Features
• Aft seat converts to a sun pad for at-anchor fun..
• Digital throttle and shift make driving easy.
• A bow boarding ladder is available to make entry from the beach easy.
• SmartCraft gauges show fuel flow in gallons per hour and miles per gallon, making it easy to manage fuel use.
• Dual prop drives give excellent hookup and smooth power throughout the power range.

At A Glance...
Sea Ray's retooled 230 Sundeck brings together a brawny play-machine with an understated style.

Vital Stats
Length Overall: 24'1"
Beam: 8'6"
Dry Weight: 4,850 lb.
Seat/Weight Capacity: 10/1,600 lb.
Fuel Capacity: 55 gal.
Maximum HP: 425
MSRP: See Local Dealer

Test Drive
Test Engine: MerCruiser MAG 350 MPI Bravo 3
Test Load: People (425 lb.), Fuel (40 gal.)
Top Speed: 46.4 mph @ 5,200 rpm
Time to Plane: 4.7 sec.
Time to 30 MPH: 10.3 sec.
Minimum Plane: 22.2 mph @ 3,000 rpm