SLX 310 OB

Boating - - CONTENTS - —Pete McDon­ald

SLX 310 OB

Not even a decade ago, if you had ut­tered the words “out­board-pow­ered bowrider,” I would have in my mind’s eye pic­tured an en­try-level 16-footer with a sin­gle 90 hp on the tran­som. To­day seem­ingly ev­ery ma­jor boat­builder of­fers an out­board ver­sion of its mega-bowrider or day­boat mod­els, seek­ing to cap­i­tal­ize on the boom­ing pop­u­lar­ity of this power choice. In this in­creas­ingly crowded field, what does the Sea Ray SLX 310 OB bring to the ta­ble? Se­ri­ous style and crea­ture com­forts. Not to men­tion a nice per­for­mance.

In lieu of stern­drives, our test SLX came pow­ered with twin Mer­cury 300 Ver­a­dos. While you can up­grade to 350s, the smaller en­gines did the job, smoothly pro­pel­ling the boat to a 52 mph top speed while com­fort­ably seat­ing a crew of five. With Sea Ray’s stan­dard hull form, fea­tur­ing a clas­sic V that ta­pers to 21 de­grees at the tran­som, the SLX han­dled smoothly and pre­dictably in lock-to-lock turns at 30 mph. All the while it han­dled other boat wakes and a mod­er­ate bay chop with­out pound­ing or rat­tling. The Ver­a­dos were whis­per-quiet at idle speeds, and even at wide-open throt­tle most of the sound reg­is­tered on our deci­bel me­ter came from the am­bi­ent wind noise.

But if you’re buy­ing this boat, you’re most likely won­der­ing how it han­dles a crowd. Dur­ing our test runs, we had two pas­sen­gers stretched out in the bow lounge, nes­tled against the for­ward-fac­ing back­rests. Nei­ther pas­sen­ger ob­structed the view from the con­sole seat­ing in the main cock­pit, es­pe­cially im­por­tant at the helm. For the driver, the in­de­pen­dent flip-up bol­ster made it easy to de­cide be­tween stand­ing or sit­ting, and the dash proved easy to read from ei­ther an­gle. The DTS throt­tle made for seam­less shift­ing, and the op­tional joy­stick sys­tem ren­dered close-quar­ters han­dling a non­is­sue.

A well-ap­pointed head in the port con­sole is there if needed, and the dou­ble-wide seat ro­tates to form a con­ver­sa­tion pit with the helm and the L-shaped lounge in the cock­pit while at an­chor. The ad­justable aft sun pad is a plus for those look­ing to tan and lounge. And don’t for­get the wet bar and aft-fac­ing love seat be­hind the helm.

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