Here’s a question for those who think boating is too expensive: Have you checked out the cost of a late model motorhome lately? How about a new Fifth Wheel? Either way, RVing isn’t getting any cheaper and $50,000 is close to the entry point for buying a late model motorhome. What, we wondered, could you do with that same money in the used Sea Ray market? Quite a lot, actually. So much that it's hard to see where owning a midsize Sea Ray cruiser is any more expensive than owning a family-size motorhome or fifthwheel.
The list below includes eight late model Sea Ray cruisers whose selling (not asking) price will likely be in the neighborhood of $50,000. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, but it does show that you don’t have to spend a lot these days to be on the water in a nice boat.
At a Glance: The best selling 40' express ever — a great-looking boat even by today’s high-glitz express standards. Built on a deep-V hull with a solid fiberglass bottom, the two-stateroom interior offers comfortable accommodations for six people. The private master stateroom includes a pedestal island berth as well as a TV/VCR and plenty of storage. A circular pocket door closes off the starboard sitting room, converting it into a private stateroom with a full-size bed and convertible upper bunk—a very clever use of space. A separate shower stall is found in the head, and the large galley includes a breakfast bar and generous storage. The U-shaped cockpit seat converts into a sun pad. An extended swim platform was a popular option. Mercury 340hp inboards cruise at 18 knots, and Cat 340hp diesels cruise in the mid 20s.
Price Range: 1992–93 models are generally priced in the $50-60K range. Always a good selection.
Sea Ray 400 Express
Sea Ray 340 Sundancer
At a Glance: Another huge Sea Ray success story, a blend of modern styling, quality construction and upscale accommodations. The graceful lines of this popular express conceal a roomy open-plan interior with walkaround island berth forward, convertible dinette to starboard in the salon, and a comfortable U-shaped settee/dinette in the sunken mid-cabin area. Privacy curtains separate both sleeping areas from the salon, and a flat screen TV above the galley pulls out on a swivel for viewing anywhere in the cabin. Cockpit features include a removable rear bench seat, wet bar with sink, built-in ice chest, cocktail table, and companion seat with storage in the base. On the downside, the side decks are on the narrow side. Twin 370hp MerCruiser V-drive gas inboards cruise in the mid 20-knot range (30+ knots top).
Price Range: $50K should by any number of 340 Sundancer boats produced from 1999–2000.
At a Glance: An updated version of the Sea Ray 310/330 (1990–94) with all-new styling and reworked hull. The well-appointed interior features a midcabin berth aft, full galley, convertible dinette, standup head with shower, and a double berth forward. Privacy curtains separate the sleeping areas from the main cabin. In the cockpit, a four-person bench seat across the transom faces a smaller, aft-facing one behind the helmsman, and the gap can be filled to produce a large sun pad. Additional features include a transom door, cockpit wet bar, good engine access, transom storage locker, and wide side decks. Available with sterndrive or inboard power, twin 330hp MerCruiser sterndrives cruise the 330 Sundancer in the high 20s and reach a top speed of 35+ knots, and twin 310hp V-drive inboards cruise in the mid 20s and top out in the low 30s.
Price Range: Plenty of used late models to choose from, many priced between $40–50K.
Sea Ray 330 Sundancer
Sea Ray 310 Sundancer
At a Glance: Super-popular midsize express with tons of eye appeal — a lot of boat for the money in today's market. When the 310 was introduced in 1998, she came with an unusual floorplan that required those using the forward kidney-shaped berth to climb over the circular dinette seat. Sea Ray dumped that plan in 1999, replacing it with a more conventional layout with an angled double berth forward and a conventional dinette with facing seats. In both configurations, a roomy midcabin offers true seclusion thanks to a real door instead of a curtain. The 310’s large cockpit includes a double-wide companion seat next to the helm seat (an unusual configuration), U-shaped rear seating, and a wet bar. MerCruiser 300hp V-drive inboards cruise at 20–22 knots (high 20s top). Twin 260hp MerCruiser I/Os cruise in the mid 20s (34–36 knots top).
Price Range: $50K should easily buy any model except maybe a 2002. Always a good selection.
At a Glance: Sexy, sleek and loaded with top-shelf amenities — a huge market success following her 2002 introduction. Two midcabin interiors were available: the standard layout has a convertible dinette to starboard in the salon, the optional layout has a convertible sofa with table replacing the dinette. Both feature a space-saving diagonal double berth forward, galley with large sink, microwave, and two-burner cooktop, and enclosed head with hand-held shower. Privacy curtains separate the sleeping areas from the main cabin. The Sundancer’s well-appointed interior is finished with earth-tone fabrics and attractive burlwood cabinets. The cockpit features a wet bar and removable table in addition to fore-and-aft facing bench seats. The cockpit sole lifts on hydraulic rams for engine access. MerCruiser 260hp I/Os cruise at 20-22 knots (mid 30s top).
Price Range: Current prices start around $35–$40K for 2002 models. In the mid $70K range for 2007 models.
Sea Ray 300 Sundancer
Sea Ray 290 Sundancer
At a Glance: Sea Ray styling at its best — this popular midcabin cruiser still turns heads a decade after she was introduced. Her expansive cockpit—less crowded than most, but with less seating as well—includes a wet bar with Corian counter andl sink, drink holders, and a designated space for the carry-on cooler. A transom shower and transom storage locker are standard, and the forward-facing radar arch added much to the 290’s stylish lines. The well-appointed interior is a blend of high-gloss cherry cabinets, Ultraleather upholstery, and deep pile carpeting. An innovative double berth forward easily converts into an aft-facing settee, and privacy curtains separate the fore and aft berths from the main cabin. A single 375hp MerCruiser I/O will cruise the Sundancer at 18–20 knots (high 20s top). Twin 260hp I/Os cruise in the mid 20s (about 40 knots top)
Price Range: $50K should buy a clean 290 Sundancer built in 2006. Later models run into the high $70s.
At a Glance: A mega-popular boat — definitely the top selling 28-foot express ever. Great styling, top-shelf amenities, and a well-appointed interior with comfortable accommodations for six. A centerline companionway leads to the 280’s cherry-trimmed interior with U-shaped dinette to port, full-service galley opposite, convertible V-berth forward (with removable table), and a compact head/shower to starboard. Privacy curtains separate both sleeping areas from the salon. An extended swim platform was standard, and a convenient storage locker is built into the transom. Molded steps in the sliding companionway door provide quick bow access via the walk-thru windshield. The midcabin berth is a tight fit for adults. Built on a solid fiberglass deep-V hull, twin 220hp MerCruiser sterndrives, the 280 Sundancer will cruise at 24–26 knots (about 40 knots top).
Price Range: This popular cruiser is found in just about all markets. $50K will buy many 2006 models.
Sea Ray 280 Sundancer
Sea Ray 260 Sundancer
At a Glance: A premium trailerable cruiser with great styling and a versatile layout — packed with thoughtful features inside and out. Easy to handle, easy to launch, and inexpensive to own. A centerline companionway leads to the 260’s cherry-trimmed salon with full-service galley to port, convertible V-berth/dinette forward, mid-berth aft, and an enclosed head/shower to starboard. A walk-thru windshield leads to the foredeck, and molded access steps are built into in the sliding companionway door. Additional features include an extended swim platform, cockpit shower, flip-up helm seat, cockpit table, power tilt wheel, and a big transom storage compartment. A reverse arch was a popular option. Built on a solid fiberglass hull, a single 310hp MerCruiser sterndrive will cruise the 260 Sundancer in the low 20s (about 35 knots top).
Price Range: Asking prices for a clean 2008 model seldom exceed $55,000.
Reality Check: What $50,000 Buys in a Pre-Owned Sea Ray Cruiser