Swipe, Click, Control

Sea Ray’s L550 has an all-glass cockpit that should be second nature for smartphone-savvy yachtsmen.

The Sea Ray L550’s helm controls work like a smartphone, displaying large images and touchscreen controls of critical functions.Courtesy Sea Ray

Beyond her handsome profile and hardwood-clad interior, the Sea Ray L550 has a glass helm that lets owners control onboard systems as easily as navigating their smartphones.

Sea Ray and Raymarine worked for two years developing the intuitive control system. “Many owners are used to touchscreen innovations in their cars,” says Ron Berman, vice president of product portfolio at Sea Ray. “They don’t want to read manuals when they get on their boats.”

The Raymarine helm on the L550 is an evolution of the version introduced last year on the Sea Ray 350 SLX. “Thanks to the 350, we know it’s robust and reliable,” Berman says. “For the L550, we made the controls more intuitive for a more complex boat. Nobody else has anything like these function-based controls.”Courtesy Sea Ray

Sea Ray condensed dozens of functions into a manageable matrix that ­emphasizes user-friendliness. For instance, the climate control function lets an owner adjust the heat or air conditioning in every room without leaving the helm. The same goes for the lights. Things such as fuel, engines and generators are also monitored, with built-in warnings.

“We’ve made this system as straightforward as possible,” Berman says. “­Owners can also control everything with an iPad, if they’re not at the helm.”