Considering Sea Ray... buying help appreciated!

Discussion in 'Newbie Lounge - NEW' started by SurfsUp, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. SurfsUp

    SurfsUp New Member

    5
    Jul 23, 2013
    Long Island, NY
    sans boat - for now...
    no
    Hey Everyone - newbie here - to the forum and to boating. I've been looking for a new (used) boat for months. I started looking at fishing boats (walkarounds, expresses). Wife really wanted something that can sleep the 4 of us (and a dog). Checked out Sea Ray, and without knowing much more, I was really impressed. The layouts are fantastic and aside from being easy to fish with, they really suit our needs.

    So then I start doing research, and hear a lot of talk about the headaches an I/O will give you if it's sitting in salt water. I live on Long Island (south shore) and this boat would be in the salt for at least 4 months. Am I getting myself into a maintenance headache?? (i'm not an engine guy - i'd need someone to work on it). The boat i'm currently considering is a 2005 280 Sundancer with twin 5.0 260HP Bravo 3's with under 200 hrs on them.

    The sales guy is also recommending a 260 with a single screw (2009). Somehow, I'm thinking a larger boat with twin screws will benefit me in the long run.

    Any thoughts or advice are welcome!

    Thanks.
     
  2. Bucit

    Bucit New Member

    Mar 12, 2010
    St. Petersburg Florida
    2005 280 Sundancer
    2004 SPD-104 Achilles w/ 8hp Yamaha
    Twin 4.3 MPI's with Alpha drives.
    4 people and a dog would be tight on a 260. Any outdrive sitting in saltwater for an extended period of time is asking for trouble especially the Bravo III's. They are prone to corrosion. Any V-Drive type boat would be fine but bottom paint and bottom cleaning is a must. This is my first cruiser style of boat. I always had outboards and trust me when I say that putting a car motor in a boat is much more expensive to repair and maintain than an outboard.
     
  3. JimG

    JimG Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Nov 4, 2008
    Southern WV
    2007 310 DA
    Kohler 5ECD
    Twin 350 Mags
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drives
    Yea... what he said.

    Welcome to CSR!
     
  4. Dave S

    Dave S Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Oct 3, 2006
    Upstate South Carolina
    Boatless
    Boatless
    The 280 Sundancer would be a good choice size wise. Unfortunately if you want to get away from outdrives, then you have to get into a Sea Ray over 30 feet in length. And while corrosion can be a problem with outdrives, many folks have used outdrives for years without any major problems. With a little care the corrosion can be kept to a minimum in salt water.
     
  5. hottoddie

    hottoddie Well-Known Member

    Jan 11, 2012
    Boston/Cape Cod
    1986 Sea Ray 390 Express
    Garmin 4212 Chartplotter
    Garmin 24 HD Radar
    Garmin GSD 22 Sounder
    Garm
    454 Crusaders
    Some will argue with me but for salt water use I would not even consider a boat with "raw water cooled" engine blocks. 10-12 years old and you are looking at repowering the boat due to internal corrosion.
     
  6. SurfsUp

    SurfsUp New Member

    5
    Jul 23, 2013
    Long Island, NY
    sans boat - for now...
    no
    it kills me that the more people I talk to, the more people try to steer me to an outboard (4 stroke) engine! The 280 Sundancer is all the boat I need as far as layout, but she'll be soaking all spring, summer and into the fall. That's a lot of saltwater. Teamed with the stories i've heard about the Bravo 3 outdrive, and it's a no brainer - go for an outboard! Yet I look in my marina - i'd say 75% of the boats are I/O - (60% are Sea Rays ;) ). Are these people just gluttons for punishment? Independently wealthy?!?
     
  7. ZZ13

    ZZ13 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Nov 25, 2009
    Lady's Island, SC
    2001 400 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins 450 Diamond
    I know several folks with bravoIII, seawater cooled drives slipped 24-7 in salt water for many, many years. They don't have any more issues or maintenance schedule than I do with a bravoIII boat slipped in freshwater. Except for one. The steering pin and its seal seems to be a real problem area for salt water bravoIIIs. Might want to do some research on it and see if that makes a difference to you.
     
  8. PMC

    PMC Active Member

    Apr 10, 2009
    Long Island, NY
    2001 40 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins 6CTA
    Welcome. Great site, lots of great information and helpful folks.

    Assuming budget is the same, comparing both the 260 and 280, you will not be disappointed with the 280. Size for size you get a lot more boat….Dinette, and the extra beam really make it a great boat. Also that boat with twins is awesome around the dock.

    As far as outdrives go, they are definitely considered expensive from a maintenance standpoint. You have a lot of money sitting in salt water which requires preventative maintenance. If you are not doing the work, find yourself a good mechanic. You should expect a yearly changing of fluids, anodes, pressure testing, inspection (bellows, bonding wires, shaft seals, run-out, gimbal bearing, alignment). If you have questions on the particulars, this site is full of information, you can always ask. Don’t be afraid of outdrives on long island, it is very common and if maintained properly you will get many happy years.

    Those engines have plenty of power, and can certainly move the boat in any sea conditions. The only negative I have, is engine room space…its tight with twin 8 CI. Compare that to a T4.3L and you will see the difference. Also this boat has what is called the ‘dry joint’ exhaust manifold. By design they last longer in comparison to the older design. Typically what has happened is when the riser fails; it will ingest salt water into the engine (obviously not good). With this riser design, you have more metal, and the gasket seal is external causing the water to leak outside the riser. Don’t read me wrong here, water can still be ingested on a failed riser… just a better design. This is a maintenance schedule replacement item, and if they are original you’ll have to plan on replacing them soon.

    Depending on your boating needs, the 280 should be enough for your family size. I say that assuming day trips, and a weekend overnighter. I know some may not agree here, but the 280 is not suitable for extended stay trips…Where it may feel like a big boat now, you’ll have a different view in a year or two. You may want to check out the 320 – it is an extremely popular boat in our waters. Think about the type of boating you will do. Keep in mind that a 280 was not designed much around fishing. Unless somebody installed, they don’t come with any rod holders.

    Good luck with the search.
     
  9. PMC

    PMC Active Member

    Apr 10, 2009
    Long Island, NY
    2001 40 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins 6CTA
    Outboards look funny on the back of a 280 - haha
     
  10. SurfsUp

    SurfsUp New Member

    5
    Jul 23, 2013
    Long Island, NY
    sans boat - for now...
    no

    Paul - thanks for all the info! Agreed - the 280 is a better choice (and it's a nicer looking boat, even though it's 3 years younger). As far as fishing, I don't plan on doing much. My kids are age 5 and 7 - i can say that after the first trip or two, i'd never want to fish again. If we happen to drop a line in while we're anchored off somewhere, so be it.

    I'd love to go to a larger boat - but this would be my first boat. I'd hate to bite off more than I can chew!

    Thanks again for your input!
     
  11. WDCboater

    WDCboater Member

    962
    Oct 3, 2010
    Washington, DC
    2010 350 Sundancer
    Raymarine c95 GPS
    KVH Satellite
    Twin Mercury 8.1 Horizon V-Drives
    I've had a 240 DA with a Bravo 3 and I now have a 350 DA with V-Drives. I was not in salt water, but the maintenance on my Bravo 3 was extensive. Thankfully I only had this boat under warranty. (Leaking bellows led to major rust and corrosion even in fresh water)

    An I/O will cost more to winterized than a V-Drive boat. I'm unfamiliar with outboard costs. Also keep in mind a two engine boat will cost more in annual maintenance since you pay by the engine.

    In terms of size, the 280 has a nice sized cabin and plenty or room for a family on a weekend aboard.

    Overall SeaRay makes a great boat. I've compared dozens of boats from various manufacturers before I selected a SeaRay. Good luck in the hunt.
     
  12. dwna1a

    dwna1a Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 23, 2012
    James River
    88 Weekender 300 "Seahorse"
    Twins 350
    I'm not gonna get into the engine conversation, both have drawbacks. If you do get inboards, go fresh water cooled. I/O's singles are a bear to dock until you get used to them. As another has said, six people on a 26 is gonna be tight. Six on my 30 is tight. I love my 30' (even now with a busted motor). What else do you plan on doing with her, day cruising, weekends out, do you plan on staying on the Hudson? A wider (beam) boat means more stability, less rolling from side to side. I went out last weekend on a 34' and was shocked at it's feel in the water. Welcome to SeaRay... and welcome to CSR.
     
  13. spfortjohn

    spfortjohn New Member

    640
    Jul 31, 2011
    Orange Beach, AL
    2014 219FS Keywest CC
    F200 Yamaha Outboard
    Ten to Twelve years old boat. Any boat that age is going to give you problems. I am on the 5 year boat plan. I have never kept a boat over 5 years. No major repairs and it keeps me on the water.
     
  14. gerryb

    gerryb Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Oct 12, 2006
    Somers Point, NJ
    "On Vacation"
    2006 40 Sundancer
    E120 Radar & Garmin 5208
    QSB5.9 380 Cummins
    I've owned the BIIIs and had no corrosion issues with them. They were in salt water 5 months a year, for the 7 years we owned her. They need more work than outboards or inboards. I made sure they were properly primed and coated each year. With routine maintenance, they'll be fine. I never liked the engineering of the Alphas and fortunately they are hardly ever available on the 280s. As far as the engines, and I/O with raw water system will need risers and manifolds replaced every 5-10 years. No way around it. For the 5.0 engines, that about a $4K expense including labor and parts. You'll hate the 260 as the kids get a year or two older - trust me that boat is too small for a family of four if you plan on using the boat most weekends. The 280 with single engine is a good option. Only downside is more work on docking and fueling up - less control with only one prop pushing water around but it is not a deal-breaker if you find the right boat. The 5.0's with BIIIs will fly - you're looking at close to 50 MPH anytime you want with that set-up.

    For those that say that saltwater is no place for an I/O - I can't disagree. You're looking at hanging close to $15K of hardware in the saltwater for months. Unfortunately, for many boats the only reasonable comprimise on getting more livable space in the cabin is to push everything back with I/Os. Regal, Chapparal, Searay, Rinker, etc. all use the same set-up in this size cruiser and some even is their 35'+ range of boats. Outboards do make the most sense but you're not likely to find a cruiser-type boat with outboards from the 2000-2009 that matches the amenities you'll find on the more typical cruisers you're looking at. It's about compromise. For us, since we weren't going to be in the water year-round, I went with the 280 as it did EVERYTHING I needed it do as well as fit in my budget.
     
  15. RonG

    RonG New Member

    178
    Nov 14, 2011
    Cape Cod
    2014 210 CC
    Yamaha 150 4 stroke
    welcome...the decision is all about trade-offs. Bigger you go the more comfortable but the higher the maintenance and operating costs. on the 260 vs 280 I think you have already realized the 260 is too small for 4 and in fact the first year I had mine I was already looking at bigger boats. Based on the responses you got already you can see the type of things that go wrong with an i/o especially in salt water. Would recommend you take your time and look for a boat that has recently done much of that maintenance work like risers, bellows etc. You can find those deals if your patient and not limit yourself to one dealer. You may even find some options like fresh water cooling if you are patient enough....Easier said than done! Some other smaller things like a camper canvas and eisenglass that is in good shape is a definite plus as they are expensive to add/replace.
    On the whole engine discussion I would rather have outboards. Have owned both i/o and outboards and my experience has been that outboards are much less costly to maintain in salt water. I love searay but hate i/o engines. Just a thought but maybe you should look at other options where you can still sleep on it but also have outboard engines like walkarounds. The trade-off will be less seating which the family might not like. I am starting to look at that now as an option for my next boat. When we bought ours we thought the sleeping factor was big but the more we do it the less we like it. Unless you plan on taking trips to other places and want to stay at other marinas you may find that having a place to sleep the family is not needed and all you need is a place for the kids to nap. Anyway a lot to think about but as far as decisions go this is a fun one! Wish you luck!
     
  16. RonG

    RonG New Member

    178
    Nov 14, 2011
    Cape Cod
    2014 210 CC
    Yamaha 150 4 stroke
  17. spfortjohn

    spfortjohn New Member

    640
    Jul 31, 2011
    Orange Beach, AL
    2014 219FS Keywest CC
    F200 Yamaha Outboard
    A good choice is the well craft 290 coastal. Mid cabin and front v berth gen and AC. Outboard power
     
  18. IslandTime

    IslandTime Member SILVER Sponsor

    96
    May 18, 2013
    USA
    Boatless
    Boatless
    Buy the boat /size based on how you will use it 75% of the time
    We have a 260 for a family of 4 -but reality is the wife and both kids are not going out every weekend -it's 2 or 3 most times .its plenty large for 4-5 if not overnighting everyone on it .
    It's plenty of boat most of the time and 1/2 the maintenance costs of a twin engine
    Also have to imagine mileage is at least 30 -40 % better at cruising speeds .
     
  19. SurfsUp

    SurfsUp New Member

    5
    Jul 23, 2013
    Long Island, NY
    sans boat - for now...
    no
    Can I just say that wow - this is a great group of honest people! I've posted on some of the other forums- and you typically get old salty types with major biases and opinions on everything and anything. Love the feedback here - I appreciate it. I haven't ruled out Sea Rays at all. I'd definitely go with a 280. I'm looking at a 2005 with the 5.0 mercs (2) - listing in the $60s. I'm thinking I can get that to a lower price. Oddly - i live a block away from a marina, and the guy approached me and said he had a 2002 Wellcraft "Martinique" that "runs excellent". I'll check it out tomorrow - not overly optimistic!

    Thanks again to everyone - this has been helpful.
     
  20. themikehyde

    themikehyde New Member

    629
    Nov 6, 2009
    Potomac River - Colonial Beach
    2001 280 Sundancer
    Twin 4.3's
    I can vouch for the 280 with twins. We have the 4.3's with alphas. All the big boy goodies (gen, ac, windlass) in a trailerable package.
    The debate over i/o' vs inboard will go on forever. We like the advantage of sterndrives for many reasons, the ability to get in shallow water, get close to the beach, remove a crab pot without having to get a haul out or a diver. That said, we are looking at bigger boats and i think once you get to 34 and up, inboards are the way to go.

    We have had our 01 for over 5 years and it has been a great size for a small family.
    Mike
     

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