Our 5 Key Fort Lauderdale Takeaways

The boat show may be over until 2014, but we’re pumped about the year ahead.

Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

Are you hyperventilating at the thought of plunging head-first into this year's Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show?

The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is packed up and closed down for another year, but what our editors saw on the docks in late October has us psyched about the world of yachting for the foreseeable future.

Here are five reasons we’re pumped about what we learned in Fort Lauderdale:

• _ Qualified buyers are back._ We heard this from new-boat builders, brokerage-boat dealers and charter brokers alike. Serious interest at this year’s show seemed to be the best that it has been since before the downturn in 2008. Pent-up demand may finally be bursting onto the boating scene.

Builders are giving us reasons to smile. A good two-dozen new models over 50 feet LOA were on display this year in Fort Lauderdale, with builders showing no signs of slowing their drive toward new features and technological advancements.

• _ Equipment is becoming so cool that we giggle out loud._ From dual-screen multifunction displays to stabilizer systems that eliminate nearly every degree of pitch and roll, new equipment is making the experience of cruising easier than ever.

New toys are seriously awesome. Last year, the superyacht set was abuzz about inflatable water slides. This year, everybody's talking about personal submersibles that can go thousands of feet underwater. Talk about an exponential increase in excitement!

Buyers are feeling good about the economy. The stock market continues to hold high, and the surprisingly strong jobs report announced just after the boat show ended only fueled more optimism. History tells us that as goes the stock market, so goes the world of yachting. We can't wait to see what 2014 will bring.