If you feel a deckboat’s main mission is to provide space, then take a look at the biggest, most spacious deckboat around-the Sea Ray 290 Sundeck. With an LOA that tops 29′ and a beam wider than 9′, it’s the largest fiberglass deckboat on the market.
Yet for such a big, beamy boat, the 290 Sundeck performs ably on the water, topping out at a hair over 45 mph with solid midrange acceleration. It proved nimble in turns, a trait not common on flatter hulled decks. It works here because of the 290 Sundeck’s 21-degree transom deadrise. The standard Digital Throttle and Shift (DTS) system makes handling as smooth as silk, with excellent response and none of the jerkiness often felt when switching between forward, neutral, and reverse.
But let’s face it: You’re looking for space and amenities. The 290 Sundeck will have no problem hauling a soccer team. Its standards list packs punch, with SmartCraft gauges, an electronic engine hatch, and 11 stainless-steel cupholders. I particularly liked the cockpit table, which deploys on a swivel. You twist a latch and the table lifts hydraulically to full height and locks in place.
I also liked the push-button ignition, a feature found in larger boats. The on-off key resides in the starboard console. Switch it on, then stop and start the engine via the in-dash button. About that starboard console…inside, it’s actually a changing room. Sea Ray calls it a berth, and it’s cushioned and secluded enough to consider for a nap. But the space is better suited for letting the kids rest out of the sun or changing into a swimsuit.
The insole ski locker will accommodate most of your stowage needs. Once I opened the hatch, I could fully recline inside. Another feature of note is the bow cockpit seating: Retractable armrests reside on either side and latch into place, providing additional creature comforts.
Because of the 290 Sundeck’s wide beam, however, you’ll need a special permit to trailer it. So pay the $200 for the permit, or keep it in a slip