Searay quality in years

Discussion in 'Sport Yachts/Yachts' started by cigars01, Apr 2, 2020.

  1. cigars01

    cigars01 Member

    Sep 1, 2016
    Lake Lanier,Cumming Ga
    1981 Searay 310 Vanguard Express Cruiser.
    Twin 454 Crusaders Direct Drive
    I know that Brunswick bought SR in 1986. Within a couple of years quality didnt exist (unsealed limber holes etc). When did Searay quality improve? I am looking at moving from a 1981 310 Vanguard that was built like a tank and even today still maintains very high quality to something bigger with more amenities. I m looking at aft cabin type of boats built mid 90's and up. I was thinking also about the 400 Sedan bridge but the balsa cored hull makes me nervous. I am also looking at similar Carvers.

    Any thoughts are appreciated.
  2. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    I think you'd have to dig a lot deeper into the Sea Ray organization to understand what impacts the acquisition by Brunswick had. From the outside looking in you could just as easily say Sea Ray quality was on the decline pre-Brunswick, they came in and righted the ship (awesome pun).

    There are loads and loads of threads on which hulls are cored and which are not. They all generally end with "get a good survey". If it's dry at 25 years old, it's probably going to stay dry, whether it's cored or not.
  3. cigars01

    cigars01 Member

    Sep 1, 2016
    Lake Lanier,Cumming Ga
    1981 Searay 310 Vanguard Express Cruiser.
    Twin 454 Crusaders Direct Drive
    I have a friend that worked at the Merritt Island factory soon after they got bought and he said the first thing they did was to use lower quality materials and that QC became non existent. You are probably right about the cored hulls. If it is good after all these years it will probably remain that way. Thanks
  4. Craig

    Craig Well-Known Member

    Feb 8, 2007
    2006 320 Sundancer
    twin 350 Horizon V drives
    Imo1995 thru 2008 were the best quality. Before and after was hit or miss.
  5. cigars01

    cigars01 Member

    Sep 1, 2016
    Lake Lanier,Cumming Ga
    1981 Searay 310 Vanguard Express Cruiser.
    Twin 454 Crusaders Direct Drive
    Thank you. That is the type of info I was looking for and actually the range in years I have been looking at mainly based on my price range. I am also looking at similar boats from Carver. Any opinion on them?
  6. Craig

    Craig Well-Known Member

    Feb 8, 2007
    2006 320 Sundancer
    twin 350 Horizon V drives
    Not bad boats but I have always found SR much easier to sell than other mid to upper tier brands. To me SR also has a more classic timelessness design.
    Chris-380 and cigars01 like this.
  7. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    The quality of my 1987 300 was very good. The quality, fit and finish of my 2002 410 is even better.
  8. BillK2632

    BillK2632 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 25, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    1999 185 Bowrider,
    Mercruiser 4.3, Alpha I
    No build / quality problems with either my 2000 290da or my 1999 185BR.
  9. RBB

    RBB Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2019
    2004 390 MY
    2019 Sea Doo GTX 155
    2020 Walker Bay Venture 14
    Pelican Kayak
    8.1’s straight drive
    60 hp Honda
    I have a 2004 390MY. I am basically a rookie. However I believe it’s built like a tank. However it’s efficiency is like a tank.
    Robf and Angle390 like this.
  10. DWABoat

    DWABoat Well-Known Member

    Aug 13, 2019
    S Louisiana
    2001 280 Sundancer
    1989 220CC Cuddy Cabin
    Twin 4.3 w/Alpha Ones
    5.7 Mercruiser Alpha One
    I have 1989 and 2001 Sea Rays.
    I can see the 01 seems to be built “tighter” as far as overall fit and joining. That may be due to general industry manufacturing improvements in from 80’s to 2000’s.
    As far as hull durability, both boat’s hulls are looking great - no spider cracks, no wavy hulls, the seams are holding tight.
    I am very satisfied with both, for what it’s worth.
    I owned a 2001 Bayliner for a short while, and I can surely see the difference in assembly quality. The SR is put together better.
  11. El Capitan

    El Capitan Well-Known Member

    Jul 9, 2014
    Chicago IL./Vero Beach, Fl
    1970 SRV 180 w 2.5L Mercruiser.
    2000 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer
    120HP Mercruiser
    BB3C9A48-B653-4BA2-8536-DF93D66B1302.jpeg 05E54841-5419-42D8-B3F3-94C1A1860C21.jpeg :rolleyes:I’m in.

    Based solely on my experience this is the same as when AMF acquired Harley Davidson. The bean counters drive the business model not manufacturing. It becomes all about cost savings, efficiency and throughput. Purchasing materials from lower bidders etc. A penny cut here and there and profits increase.

    IMO, the older manufacturing was done by craftsman. Companies competed on quality. High quality materials many of which the EPA prohibits were used. They were thick heavy hulls.

    Today it’s about composites, lighter is better, smaller more efficient and eco-friendly power plants and the ultimate is pulling in first time buyers and suckering them into 20 year financing.

    The newer boats I’ve been on ranging from 28ft Sea Vee to a 260 SD are indeed beautiful. But to me they were corks in the water bobbing around in 3ft chop and pounding.

    Years ago I owned a 1980 SRV242 Cuddy w 454 BII and that thing plowed. Solid heavy construction.

    I’m not criticizing new at all. Just my preference. But then again I own a 1970 Harley chopper, 2000 Ford truck, and 1970 SRV180 :rolleyes:
  12. Arminius

    Arminius Member

    Oct 30, 2019
    Bowrider 200 Select, 2003
    5.0L MPI, 260 hp w/Alpha 1 Drive
    What happened to the factory and hulls for sport boats in 2008? I started investigating new boats last year but ended up buying a 2003 Bowrider and am very impressed by the quality. As I made phone calls and looked at current hulls, I got the feeling that Searay and Bayliner and Mastercraft might now share the same factory in Kentucky and that the bottom half of the hulls, Bayliner at least, might be identical. Just a feeling but the post 2008 boats lost their curves and came to resemble my old Seaswirl rather than the floating Jacuzzi I bought. They went to outboards on their small yachts which is weird although I like outboards and they are now 4.2 L V-8 4-strokes. Lot cheaper to build a yacht w/o an engine, just a bracket.
  13. chuck1

    chuck1 Super Moderator TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 3, 2006
    North GA Mountains
    Looking For Next One
    Looking For Next One
    It is my understanding that SeaRay and Bayliner share the factory in Vonore, TN.
  14. The Bill Collector

    The Bill Collector Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tacoma, WA
    1998 450 Sundancer, Achilles dinghy
    3126 Cat's
    I'm kinda partial to 1998 :)
    Lina Lina Charters Vesse inl Perfect Light.JPG
    Gary B likes this.

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