The Elecraft KX3 is a fantastic little rig, limited of course to 12 watts output. I now have one and for Ham use it is terrific, but I like low power
and portable operation in particular. The built-in wide range antenna
tuner does a really good job with simple wire antennas. The user interface is far friendlier than menu driven radios like the FT-817/FT-857/FT-897/IC-7000/IC-706 radios.
It can be used for digital modes, though it does not have the fixed audio output that many other rigs have that simplify digital modes somewhat.
It is not a good choice for your sole HF radio
on board when cruising, but as a hobby and something of an emergency
backup radio I would recommend it.
For utility use on a boat, something like the IC-706 would be better, particularly if you are interested in doing a lot of ham band VHF/UHF.
I would also suggest that Cruiser2B go ahead and take the Extra Class exam right after passing the General class test. It won't cost anything extra to do that, and if you don't pass you lose nothing.