MIAMI 2019: Sea Ray meets Blade Runner

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MIAMI — The launch of Sea Ray’s 350 SLX-R yesterday at the Miami International Boat Show was described by the builder as an “immersive experience,” but the press event was more akin to being on a sci-fi set than a typical boat launch.

Housed in a dark, air-conditioned tent, the tricked-out outboard-powered 350 SLX-R was tied to a dock. But the environment wasn’t anything like the sun-drenched launches of other builders that day, which included long speeches with specific details about their new boats.

Instead, the 350 SLX-R was bathed in eerie lighting, with an occasional spotlight flashing on specific features. Sea Ray president Brad Anderson presented the boat — not standing on the transom, as is typical with boat launches, but from a video projected to four areas of the ceiling. Anderson went through the boat’s features — twin Mercury 400R outboards, joystick piloting, red LED underwater lights and 12-inch touchscreen displays — but the message was somewhat lost in the show. Anderson looked like a character on a huge screen in the movie Blade Runner.

The press event was definitely a first for the marine industry and likely represents how the new Sea Ray, in the process of reinventing itself, is looking to the future.

Brunswick CEO David Foulkes spoke briefly — in person and not beamed to the ceiling — about the “transition process” with Sea Ray. “When I joined the Boat Group a year ago, I worked very closely with Brad and the entire Sea Ray team on the new lineup,” Foulkes said. “We’ve really just started with Sea Ray, and you’ll see a lot more going forward.”

The 350 SLX-R is impressive, a 35-foot dayboat with space for 18 people. The limited-edition package has the upgraded 400-hp Verados, a Mastervolt NMEA 2000 charging system, carbon fiber accents on the hardtop, an upgraded Fusion Marine audio system and red underwater lighting.

“The SLX-R signals Sea Ray’s emphasis on design and performance, and the feeling of adrenaline,” Anderson said in a statement.

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