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Brief Summary

With luxurious seating for up to 15, the Sea Ray SLX 280 has lots of room to party. Upscale options include a hydraulically-actuated swim platform and an articulating Bimini/watersports tower and the Dynamic Display "glass cockpit" on the dash, among many others. Leather-wrapped grab-rails are standard, as is plush, diamond-stitched and embroidered upholstery. Scissor-style hinges keep all larger seat pads in place and provide hands-free access to the large storage compartments below.

Key Features

  • Standard with MerCruiser's new 6.2-liter V-8 350-hp Bravo III engine with Digital Throttle & Shift
  • Comfortably seats 15 people while underway
  • Expansive cockpit space with optional wet bar
  • Iconic styling with elegant hull sculpting, available in multiple color configurations
  • Luxurious and plush seating, with abundant storage beneath
  • Spacious head compartment
  • Transom seating with transformable backrest
  • Optional equipment such as a submersible hydraulic swim platform and electric tower with articulating Bimini system
  • Proprietary Quiet Ride technology featuring Tuned Transom


Length Overall 28' 6'' / 8.69 m
Beam 9'
2.74 m
Dry Weight 7,018 lbs.
3,183 kg
Draft 37" / 94 cm
Draft Up 20''
51 cm
Draft Down 37''
94 cm
Deadrise/Transom 21-deg.
Max Headroom open
Bridge Clearance N/A
Person Capacity 15
Fuel Capacity 90 gal.
341 L
Water Capacity 20 gal.
76 L


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Engine Options

Tested Engine Currently no test numbers
Std. Power 1 x 350-hp MerCruiser 6.2L ECT Bravo III with DTS
Opt. Power 1 x 380-hp MerCruiser 8.2 MAG ECT Bravo IIIx with DTS
1 x 430-hp MerCruiser 8.2 MAG HO ECT Bravo IIIx with DTS

Captain's Report

Sea Ray 280 SLX running shot

At 28’6” (8.69 m) long with a 9’ (2.74 m) beam, the SLX 280 is one of the biggest single-engine bowriders in the Sea Ray line.

Mission Statement

Sea Ray developed the SLX 280 to provide families looking for a big luxurious bowrider and a do-everything boat in a single-engine package. She comes well equipped for watersports or cruising, she is yacht certified and and can handle up to 15 people and all their carry-on gear. Options such as a submersible hydraulic swim platform and an award-winning power tower that folds down with the push of a button further enhance the SLX 280’s versatility. She can be powered by up to 430-hp.

Sea Ray 280 SLX floor plan

The SLX 280 has a large head compartment in the port console and in the cockpit a mini wet bar can be added.

Features Inspection

The Bow

Seating Space.

Since the SLX 280 is a big bowrider, let’s start in her bow. The seating area measures 6’2” (1.88 m) across the backrests on the consoles and 3’10” (1.17 m) across forward. The side lounges have 4’2” (1.27 m) of cushion fore to aft so passengers can stretch out. Outboard gunwale trays contain speakers and have 12-volt power plugs. There’s a bracket to mount a table forward and a filler cushion is an available option.

Sea Ray 280 SLX bow

Cup holders are down low so bottles and cans won’t blow around when empty and notice that the grab rails are wrapped in leather for a more comfortable grip.

Sea Ray 280 SLX table

The removable table secures in place to create an inviting area to enjoy a snack.

Bow Storage.

The SLX 280’s bow has good storage capacity starting with the anchor locker beneath a hatch in the foredeck. There’s a large locker in the sole that opens on a gas strut. The forward seat bottom cushions can be pulled aside to access small compartments. The side lounge bottom cushions lift up on scissor-style hinges that hold them up so crewmembers can use two hands to deal with gear being stowed or retrieved. The locker in the starboard console is big enough for an adult to crawl inside and there are removable panels that provide access to helm rigging.

Sea Ray 280 SLX anchor locker

The anchor locker has a dedicated rack for a Danforth-style anchor and owners can opt for a power windlass.


Sea Ray 280 SLX storage

There are storage compartments beneath all the lounge cushions in the bow.

Sea Ray 280 SLX bottom cushion

The bottom cushion for the starboard lounge rises toward the bow on these white hinges and the backrest lifts on a gas strut to let a person crawl into the console compartment.

Sea Ray 280 SLX access panels

Inside the locker, we found these removable access panels that let technicians get to helm rigging and other maintenance items.

The Cockpit

Wind Protection.

The opening center section of the windshield opens to make it easy to move aft into the cockpit. Close the windshield and the passageway beneath it with a bi-fold door that extends across from the starboard console to protect the cockpit from on rushing winds during early or late-season cruises. Behind the passageway, door is a locker that’s home to the optional electrical system switch panel.

Sea Ray 280 SLX hatch

This hatch that folds out of the starboard console closes off the bow passageway and behind it there’s a locker.

Sea Ray 280 SLX switch panel

When the boat is equipped with shore power, the switch panel is in the locker in the starboard console.

The Helm

High-Tech Control.

To starboard in the cockpit, the helm is available with an optional digital Dynamic Display that looks like it belongs in a private jet. It provides all engine, audio and navigation information on a 12.3” (31.2 cm) touchscreen. The steering wheel is on a tilt helm and just ahead, Sea Ray hides the battery switch, which is a good idea for easy access and security. Just to the left is the control for the Rockford Fosgate stereo. To the right are the accessory switches, the digital throttle/shift control and the buttons for the electronic trim tabs.

Sea Ray 280 SLX helm

In this photo, the SLX 280 is equipped with the Dynamic Display with a 12.3” (31.2 cm) touchscreen.

Sea Ray 280 SLX vhf radio

When the boat is equipped with the optional VHF radio, it’s installed down low by the driver’s feet. This is not an optimal location and is one we would change, or go with a hand-held VHF.

Bring a Friend.

The 250 SLX’s helm seat is a doublewide model with fold-up bolsters for the driver and a companion so either can travel in a seated or standing position. It adjusts fore and aft on a slider and there’s an angled footrest on the helm console.

Sea Ray 280 SLX helm seat

As we saw throughout the SLX 280, the helm seat is finished with an embroidered logo, leather highlights and textured upholstery. Notice the padded rest in the gunwale for the driver’s throttling arm.

Comforts of Home.

Across from the helm to port, the console opens to provide entry into the SLX 280’s private head compartment. The hatch locks for privacy and inside is a sink with a pull-up faucet and shower clip and a portable toilet. The head is a finished fiberglass liner that will make it easy to keep clean. Outboard of the head entry hatch is a stainless-steel bottle rack and a glovebox lined with soft rubber mat and equipped with a 12-volt plug.

Sea Ray 280 SLX head

The curved hatch for the private head opens wide to make it easy to step inside.

Sea Ray 280 SLX glove box

The glove box has a drain, a soft rubber mat, and this 12-volt plug, making it a likely place to charge a cell phone.

Lounge Wizards.

Across from the helm, there’s a single swiveling bucket seat just abaft the port console. Outboard in the gunwale are a grab rail and one of the 10 stainless cup holders aboard the SLX 280. Behind the bucket seat, a large lounge wraps all the way aft to the passageway to the stern. To starboard, abaft the helm seat, is a lounge with a dedicated spot for one of the boat’s two carry-on coolers underneath the cushion. Owners can add the optional drawer-style refrigerator under the forward half of this seat; the optional battery charger would need to be ordered as well.

Sea Ray 280 SLX cockpit

The primary cockpit lounge wraps around from the bucket seat to the stern passageway and with the movable table in place, it creates a comfortable place to enjoy lunch.

Cockpit Storage.

Sea Ray uses the same scissor-style hinges we found on the bow seats to raise the cushion on the port lounge. Skis and boards can be stashed in the in-sole locker between the helm and companion’s seats. It has dual locking latches and opens on twin gas struts.

Sea Ray 280 SLX water toy inflator

The port lounge seat has space for PFDs and other items and it’s home to the optional water-toy inflator.

Sea Ray 280 SLX ski locker

Sea Ray lines the ski and board locker with a soft rubber mat to protect expensive gear.

Sea Ray 280 SLX carry on cooler

One of two carry-on coolers stores beneath the starboard cockpit seat.

Sea Ray 280 SLX refrigerator

The optional stainless-steel refrigerator drawer could be a good addition. We like that someone can grab a cold drink without having to make the passengers on the seat move.

Engine Access

Front and Center.

With the push of a button, the aft section of the cockpit lounge raises on a power ram to provide good access to the SLX 280’s engine and the fuel tank, which is just ahead. Pull out the bottom cushion in the corner of the lounge and the twin batteries are secured in plastic trays in their own compartment.

Sea Ray 280 SLX engine

There’s so much space ahead of the MerCruiser V-8 that changing the serpentine belt would be an easy task.

Sea Ray 280 SLX batteries

The batteries are secured in a compartment in the base of the cockpit lounge. This makes it easy to check on or replace them if necessary.

The Stern

Easy Access.

Passengers can make their way to the SLX 280’s stern recreation area via a passageway to starboard. There is a storage compartment beneath a hatch in the sole and we’d like to see Sea Ray install a gate to close off the area. Our test model had the switches for the optional watersports tower and hydraulic swim platform in a small cabinet in the passageway.

The swim platform has plenty of space to sit and strap on a board and to keep the topsides uncluttered, the four-step ladder secures underneath. If the boat is equipped with the hydraulic swim platform, the drive trims down when the platform is lowered into the water. The stern seat measures 5’9” (1.75 m) across and have ratcheting backrests that let users customize their position.

Sea Ray 280 SLX passageway

This passageway to starboard allows passengers convenient access to the swim platform.

Sea Ray 280 SLX back rests

The backrests for the stern seat can be adjusted with a ratchet system that maintains their position.


We haven’t tested the Sea Ray SLX 280 so we don’t have numbers yet. For the base price of $139,655, the standard boat comes with a 350-hp (261 kW) MerCruiser 6.2L ECT Bravo 3 with digital throttle and shift. For an extra $6,154, an owner can upgrade to the 380-hp (283 kW) MerCruiser 8.2 MAG ECT or for $14,154, the 430-hp (321 kW) 8.2 MAG HO ECT engine. Both come with the twin-prop Bravo 3 drive with digital throttle and shift

Sea Ray 280 SLX running shot

With a choice of MerCruiser V-8 engines paired with a Bravo 3 drive, the SLX 280 should have plenty of power for cruising or towing watersports.

Silence Please.

Sea Ray’s Quiet Ride and its Tuned Transom are part of a system that the manufacturer designed to reduce noise and vibration in all its boats. A boat without the system averages 86.2 decibels, while a boat equipped with Quiet Ride averages 79.4, according to Sea Ray. We have visited the Sea Ray factory and – in fact – the builder goes to some amount of trouble to reduce noise.

Sea Ray 280 SLX foam

This foam on the underside of the engine compartment hatch is part of the SLX 280’s noise-suppressing system called Quiet Ride.


  • Limited lifetime structural hull/deck warranty to the original owner
  • Limited 10-year structural hull/deck warranty to the second owner
  • Limited five-year pro-rated laminate hull blister warranty
  • Limited five-year cosmetic exterior gelcoat warranty

Trailer Packages

  • Painted tandem-axle bunk trailer with dual-axle brakes ($7,923)
  • Painted tandem-axle roller trailer with dual-axle brakes ($8,308)
  • Galvanized tandem-axle bunk trailer with dual-axle brakes ($8,538)
  • Galvanized tandem-axle roller trailer with dual-axle brakes ($9,231)

Options to Consider and Pricing

  • Electric watersports tower with manual Bimini ($13,077)
  • Submersible automated swim platform ($5,769)
  • Bow and cockpit covers ($1,154)
  • Air compressor for water toys ($231)
  • Battery charger ($385)
  • Dynamic display with 12.3” touchscreen display for all onboard functions ($7,462)
  • Bow filler cushion ($692)
  • SeaDek swim platform pad ($846)
  • VacuFlush toilet with 10-gallon (37-L) holding tank ($2,077)
  • Beach ladder on bow with hatch ($300)
  • 12-volt refrigerator (must order battery charger) ($2,308)
  • Windlass, rope/chain with remote control and stainless-steel anchor ($4,385)

Sea Ray 280 SLX docked

The optional watersports tower can be lowered so that the SLX 280 can get under bridges.

Sea Ray 280 SLX swim platform

The optional hydraulic swim platform can be lowered below the water’s surface.


The Sea Ray SLX 280 is a big luxurious bowrider that should appeal to families that want the passenger space of a deckboat or pontoon boat but with the ride and performance that comes with a V-bottom. She comes at a luxury price and with a pretty comprehensive list of standard equipment. At a dry weight of 7,018 lbs. (3,183 kg) and a beam of 9’ (2.74 m), she’s 4” (10.2 cm) wider than standard, but this should not present a problem in most states when trailering. Most half-ton vehicles are rated for 10,000 lbs. (4,536 kg) or a little less and the combined weight of the boat and trailer should come in under that weight.

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