Natural sunlight. Quieter outboards. Easy maintenance. Gathering areas.
These are some of the ideas the design and engineering team at Sea Ray Boats wanted to implement in its new models — the 370 Venture and the 350 and 510 Sundancers — and even carry through to existing boats.
Sea Ray and MarineMax co-sponsored an event Wednesday evening at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show to unveil the 370 Venture, which features a hidden outboard to reduce noise, as well as showcase the new 350 Sundancer and 510 Sundancer, both of which feature more natural sunlight and open space.
“All three of these boats have a lot of the same influences,” Sea Ray president Rob Parmentier told Soundings Trade Only. “We’re going to go fresh, when fresh is what the customer wants.”
Click play to watch highlights from the press event.
When designers and engineers planned the new models, they didn’t just look at boating trends. They also looked at industries such as housing and the trends in cars.
“We looked for needs in the marine industry that needed to be filled,” Brunswick Boat Group director of program management Dan Robinson told Trade Only.
“There are a lot of styling trends going on in the auto industry, like complex surface treatments,” Brunswick Boat Group design director Tom Bucaccio told Trade Only.
The endeavors can be complex when translating land vehicles into saltwater vessels.
“We got to take these guys’ ideas and make them work,” Brunswick Boat Group engineering director Cliff Denson said.
Innovations seemed to be an emerging theme for builders hoping to lure customers who have been leaning toward used models since the recession’s onset in 2008.
“It’s always fun to work on a new product because it’s like your baby, but it is pressure because it’s a tighter industry,” Bucaccio said. “So we’ve got to make sure we’re spot on.”
At least one dealer is happy with the new models — if MarineMax counts as one dealer with 53 locations.
“We’ve got a lot coming out of Sea Ray, which is good for us,” MarineMax president of charter and special initiatives Lex Raas said on Tuesday night at a FLIBS press event. “We’ve sold five of the 510s since they were introduced in September [in Tennessee]. You sell five boats on a boat that hasn’t been property debuted in a month, that’s the kind of excitement around this product.”
Read more about Sea Ray and FLIBS in the December issue of Soundings Trade Only.
— Reagan Haynes