The Sea Ray 240 felt just as comfortable at full speed as it did at cruising speed.

The Sea Ray 240 felt just as comfortable at full speed as it did at cruising speed.

Hollywood has dubbed 2003 the "Year of the Superhero," thanks to highly anticipated movie releases such as "Daredevil," "X-Men 2" and "The Hulk." However, we've found a boating superhero of our own in the new Sea Ray 240 Bow Rider — and it can save us from a day of boredom anytime.

We tested the Sea Ray 240 BR on Southern California's Lake Elsinore. Although it was the middle of winter, the temperature was close to 80 degrees Fahrenheit that day.

The always-busy team at Newport Boats in Corona, California was kind enough to loan us both the boat and a member of their staff. It's only about a 20-minute drive from Newport Boats to the lake, so we were out on the water in no time.

Lake Elsinore is a fairly shallow lake, but it's great for testing boats because there's no speed limit at its center. Plus, we were one of the only boats on the lake that day, so we had carte blanche to run the boat however we pleased.

With three adults and 1/4 a tank of fuel on board, we set off across the lake for a midwinter speed test. During a couple of runs at wide-open throttle (which was 5,200 rpm), we averaged a top speed of 49.1 mph. Cruising speed was around 32 mph, where we were running at 3,500 rpm.

A 260 hp 5.0L MPI Bravo III MerCruiser stern drive is standard, but our test boat had a slightly upgraded 300 hp 350 Magnum MPI Bravo III MerCruiser gasoline stern drive. Maximum power is a 375 hp 496 Bravo I MerCruiser.

All of the optional engine packages are fuel-injected systems that come with a SmartCraft system monitor and a stainless steel prop. Our test boat's prop had a 24-inch pitch.

Some boats feel shaky at top-end speeds, but our Sea Ray 240 felt just as comfortable at full speed as it did at cruising speed. We faced friendly 12-knot winds that day on the water, and the 240 took the chop with no problems. Turns were tight and the ride was very dry.

Three in One

Our test boat had the optional watersports tower made of welded aluminum. The tower was nicely constructed and managed to single-handedly transform the 240 from a simple bowrider to a skiing and wakeboarding machine.

Three seating plans are available on the 240 BR. All of the seating plans feature the same bow area with a V-shaped settee and a forward anchor locker. All of the plans also offer the same swiveling bucket seat for the helm chair.

The standard layout includes a matching bucket seat for the passenger, along with a walk-through transom that allows entry from the port side. The first optional feature offers the same walk-through transom, but instead of a bucket seat for the passenger side, you can get a back-to-back lounger that can be flattened to create a long, thin sunpad. Our test boat had this layout.

The second optional layout includes matching bucket seats for the helm and passenger, like the standard seating plan, but the transom is completely different. Instead of a walk-through transom with a straight settee, this layout offers a settee that runs completely across the boat. All three versions offer a rear sunpad, but the second optional layout offers the largest one.

General features are the same for all three layouts, though. Snap-in cockpit carpet is standard, as are a lockable glove box, an insulated ice chest, a 12v outlet, a trash receptacle, a 12v AM/FM CD player with four waterproof speakers and a digital cockpit remote control, a removable pedestal table, a tilt steering wheel, a bilge pump and a blower.

Standard instrumentation includes a tachometer, a speedometer, a voltmeter, and water temperature, oil and fuel gauges. The SmartCraft system monitor adds a depth finder, engine alarms, and keeps track of engine hours, fuel flow/range and fuel usage.

Both the port and starboard console each have stowage space inside. A portable head is available as on option, but we can only imagine a yoga master fitting inside one of these spaces. As stowage areas, they're huge, but fitting both a human and a portable head inside one seems like it would be uncomfortable at the very least.

An extended swim platform further adds to the 240 BR's watersports friendliness. If your family is into skiing, wakeboarding or riding on towables, the 240 BR provides plenty of power, as well as controlled handling to ensure that everyone stays safe.

This family-friendly bow rider can wear many faces, depending on what you want. Choose one of three layouts and decide whether you want a watersports tower for skiing and wakeboarding. Of course, the hardest part is going to be deciding who gets to drive it first.

Sea Ray 240 Bow Rider Specifications
Draft (drive down3'2"
Dry weight4,500 pounds
Fuel capacity57 gallons
Maximum power375 hp

Top speed49.1 mph
Cruising speed32 mph

Model350 Magnum MPI with Bravo III MerCruiser stern drive
Propshaft horsepower300
Displacement350 c.i.d.
Bore and stroke4.0" x 3.48"
Gear ratio2.0:1
Compression ration9.4:1
Max. engine speed4600-5000 rpm
Weight1,070 pounds

Standard Features

Snap-in cockpit carpet, lockable glove box, insulated ice chest, 12v outlet, trash receptacle, 12v AM/FM CD player with four waterproof speakers and a digital cockpit remote control, removable pedestal table, tilt steering wheel, bilge pump, blower, tachometer, speedometer, voltmeter.


Air compressor, bow filler cushions, portable head, hydraulic trim tabs, battery on/off switch, aft curtain, Bimini top with boot, cockpit cover, stainless steel through-hull fittings, premium trailer package, stereo upgrade with amplifier and subwoofer.

For More Information

Sea Ray Boats Inc.
2600 Sea Ray Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37914