Sea Ray scores a win as company sale sails on


Sea Ray, with a main office in Knoxville and major factory in Vonore, has won Boating Magazine’s Boat of the Year award for its SLX 400, the company announced.

That should be good news for Sea Ray’s owner Brunswick Corp., which announced it December it is trying to sell the boatmaker.

Sea Ray just announced in June 2017 it was adding workers at its Tellico West Industrial Park plant to increase production of the 40-foot SLX 400, dubbed “The Entertainer.”

“We tested more than 130 boats during 2017, assessing their safety, performance, innovation and place in their categories,” Kevin Falvey, editorial director of Boating Magazine, said in a news release. “This ‘cruiser’ handles nimbly at 40 knots, makes a great weekender, and boasts many design innovations, not the least of which is the expandable swim platform known as the swim terrace. Dedicated stowage for a stand-up paddleboard is just one example that reflects a builder in touch with the current wishes of many boaters. Boating’s Boat of the Year is the most prestigious honor awarded to recreational boat builders. For 2017, the Sea Ray SLX 400 joins the pantheon of great boats that can claim the title of Boat of the Year.”

The Tellico plant, in Vonore, employs about 600 of Sea Ray’s 1,500 U.S. workers, according to Brunswick Director of Media Relations and Corporate Communications Daniel Kubera.

Sea Ray is one of 15 brands in Brunswick Boat Group, but it’s the only one for sale; no buyer was immediately in prospect in December, but the company expected a sale to happen in the first half of 2018. Until then, Kubera said it would be “business as usual.”

Brunswick bought Sea Ray in 1986 for $350 million, but Sea Ray sales have dropped 90 percent to about 2,800 boats per year, according to The workforce has declined by two-thirds, and Sea Ray is operating at a loss, reported.

Sea Ray took more awards at the 2018 Miami International Boat Show, including:

*Inboard Express Cruiser – Customer Satisfaction Index Award

*Best Sales Promotion, #SeaRaySummer – Marine Marketers of America Neptune Awards  

*Best Website, New Configurator, Design Your Sea Ray – Marine Marketers of America Neptune Awards

*Best Video for the SLX-W 230, in partnership with MarineMax – Marine Marketers of America Neptune Awards.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel

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Published March 2, 2018