As is tradition, boat and marine equipment manufacturers used the Miami International Boat Show to launch new products in front of the eager eyes and ears of the boating press. To borrow a phrase that’s been popular lately, it was yuge. We hit the ground running as events got underway in the morning and pounded the docks well into the evening to ID some of our own favorites. Here they are.
Sea Ray SLX 400
Sea Ray has been steadily cultivating its incredibly good SLX deck boat lineup (check out our First Look Video of the Sea Ray 310 SLX OB, to see what we mean) lately by introducing clever models loaded with lots of smart and innovative features that make them true sport utilities of the sea. Now there’s a new flagship model—the SLX 400—and it takes that sport utility theme to a whole different level. After crawling all over one we’re confident in saying that Sea Ray has just upped the ante in the luxury deck boat market.
The first thing everyone noticed at the boat show display was the aft section of the SLX 400’s topsides, which electrically lowers to create an expanded teak “beach” at the stern—a companion to the huge teak-decked swim platform. When stowed it blends into the natural lines of the boat. Other boat manufacturers have tried to integrate this Transformer-like capability into their boats, but Sea Ray has done it in a way that makes it feel as if it’s a natural extension of the boat—not a feature that’s simply been slapped on.
The deck layout has four distinct social zones with highly convertible seating that can be customized to suit the activity at hand. The bow features touring seats and lounges set around a drop-in table. It can alternatively be converted into a large sunpad. An aft seating area can also be customized via sliding seatbacks. Comfort continues under the huge tower-mounted hardtop. There’s a mini galley with dual grills for preparing meals or snacks, and adjacent dinette seating. The helm station includes Sea Ray’s “Digital Dash” as well as Axius joystick docking controls.
We’re ready to party. Based on our brief time aboard, so is the Sea Ray SLX 400.
For more information, visit Sea Ray.
Mako 414 CC
Mako’s on a tear. Last year the builder proved it wasn’t drifting off into irrelevancy by introducing at the Miami Show its uber-capable and well-crafted 334 CC—a truly excellent offshore angling machine. This year on the opening day of the show Mako completely took off the gloves, introducing the 414 CC. It’s a rugged center-console aimed at offshore anglers, rated for a jaw-dropping 1,675 HP on the transom.
Recognizing the hot market for center-console boats over 40 feet in length, Mako built the 414 with an aggressive deep-vee hull and the length to go far offshore for the big ones. In fact Mako calls the new model its “Apex Predator.”
As mentioned, buyers can rack the stern with up to 1,675 HP worth of Mercury Verado four-stroke outboards, though the show demo model had a quadruple stack of Verado 350s. Mako tells us to expect a top end in the low 60s with an efficient cruise in the upper 30s. You’ll be out on the fishing hot spots in no time.
Speaking of fishing, the Mako 414 has twin, rounded, 50-gallon live wells on the transom, aft fish boxes with macerated overboard discharge, a port tuna/dive door to aid in boating big fish, a large rigging station behind the expansive helm seating setup, and enough rod stowage to swallow up your entire rod collection.
There are a ton of comfort features aboard, too, such as an enclosed head/shower, retractable aft cockpit sunshade, a freshwater sink and cooktop aft, and plenty of comfy seating. Anglers and family fun seekers alike will want to give this excellent new Mako a close look.
For more information, visit Mako.
Mercury 400R Carbon Edition
Mercury Marine opened the show a day early at its own off-site press event, releasing a slew of new products ranging from racing inboards to surface-piercing propellers. A new product in the mix that caught our eye was the new Mercury 400R Carbon Edition, a spiced-up development of an already potent, supercharged, 400 HP outboard.
The Carbon Edition outboards feature a contemporary layered surfacing crafted with lightweight carbon fiber composite, much like Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft uses in its construction. Inside are the same souped-up components, but the outside benefits from a new, aggressive styling scheme and a slick high-tech look that will go great with the high-performance boats they’re intended for. We were wowed by the new look.
For more information, visit Mercury Marine.
Yamaha F25 Four-Stroke Outboard
What can be exciting about a 25 HP, four-stroke outboard? We were just asking ourselves that question at Yamaha’s press conference when we were told how much the new F25 weighed.
The all-new engine has shed a whopping 42 pounds during its redesign, which means a higher level of performance on the sizes of boats it’s intended to serve—skiffs, jon boats, and other utilitarian craft. It now weighs just 125 pounds. It also has a new starting system. Instead of having to pull the starting cord once to prime the ignition system and a second time to fully ignite the fuel and start the engine, Yamaha has combined the two functions into a single-pull. Your back will thank you Yamaha every time you head out.
For more information, visit Yamaha Outboards.
Scout 380 LXF
Innovation is deep in Scout Boats’ core DNA—the company is all about making routine boating tasks easier and maximizing the usability of space inside the gunwales by giving certain interior elements multiple purposes. This type of innovation was showcased when the builder first introduced its super-size-me 420 LXF center-console. So when the South Carolina company debuted a smaller sister at this year’s Miami show—the 380 LXF—we made sure to go in for a closer look.
The 380 and 420 share Scout’s angular yet graceful design taste, and also the clever features that make a Scout boat a Scout. The first feature that caught our eye was the set of hard-top rocket launchers used for out-of-the-way rod stowage. Unfortunately, these can often be difficult to reach, making stowing and retrieving rods a real pain. Scout solves this problem on the 380 LXF by allowing them to hinge downward electrically at the push of a button, making them easy to access. Simple, but clever. Then there’s the aft end of the large helm seating unit. It’s an option, but this area can, at the press of a button, open up to form a casual food-prep area with grill and sink. The more we looked around, the more neat touches we found.
You can power the 380 LXF with up to 1,200 HP of Yamaha or Mercury Verado power—quad 300s or triple 350s. Fast and furious, with lots of style and comfort. That’s what Scouts are all about.
For more information, visit Scout.
FLIR M100 and M200 Thermal Cameras
If you’ve ever done any boating at night, you know that it can be an intimidating and sometimes anxiety-inducing activity—even when boating in familiar waters. FLIR’s thermal imaging cameras massively reduce those unpleasant feelings with technology once exclusive to the military.
Introduced on the first day of the show, FLIR’s new M100 and M200 cameras are the most compact the company has ever built, with much-reduced footprints. FLIR says its new ClearCruis thermal analytics enhance a skipper’s nighttime awareness by identifying boats, obstacles, or navigation markers, and displaying them clearly on a compatible Raymarine Multifunction display. You’ll be able to see in the dark better than a cat.
For more information, visit FLIR.
Helm Master Set Point
Yamaha has been manufacturing its Helm Master joystick steering for a while now, but one thing that’s been glaringly absent—that other joystick docking/steering systems have had for ages—is station-keeping ability; in other words, being able to push a button and have the system engage the engines in a manner that keeps a boat “parked” in a location on the water. But Yamaha has now stepped up.
The new, improved Helm Master joystick docking/steering system has what Yamaha calls “Set Point” capabilities, allowing it to keep a boat on station automatically. The system has three different modes: Set Point, Fish Point, and Stay Point. Each has varying levels of aggressiveness based on what type of station-keeping is needed.
Set Point uses the most aggressive mix of power and steering corrections it needs to maintain position in conditions that demand it, such as in heavy winds or current. Fish Point uses the mildest applications of power and a larger circle of correction to keep you in range of your fishing hole without spooking the fish. The Stay Point mode maintains the boat within a 75-foot circle, using an average amount of power to get the job done.
While the press conference was underway, a large center-console boat powered by quad Yamaha F350C engines hovered just off the dock, easily maintaining its position in the strong current and winds.
The system is compatible with Yamaha’s F200 and its V6- and V8-powered outboard engines.
For more information, visit Yamaha Helm Master.