I am not the most current on what's out there, as I sold my boat 3 years ago, but here is my $0.02.
We were divers, so finding the wrecks was most important to us, which when fishing, structure is important.
I had 2 GPS units, Both Garmin. One strictly GPS, the other GPS/Map/Fish finder. Also had a Si-Tec 106 color fish finder. The color unit was great because it would indicate bottom conditions (mud, sand, rock etc)
A hard mount VHF radio, plus a back up hand held is probably the most important piece of electronics. Radar is nice if you are out early in the fog. We also had an EPRIB and a life raft, but we were going a good distance off shore.
Good deals can be found on ebay for a lot of this stuff, but make sure it comes with antenas and transducers, or that good deal becomes expensive very quickly.
You should be all set Drome. When you launch make sure you mark a waypoint on the gps. If you loose your bearings or fog rolls in you can get back. As for classes,,,practice practice practice..This is my 2nd with this finder and I finally have it figured out for fresh and salt. Bring the manuel with you every trip and try the settings. Thats the only way you'll learn it.
i'm using the new lowrance x 107c grreat unit still learning to use it. 480 vert and horiz pixels, so nice clear screen, good to 2500ft, a little over kill. i bought the one with the duel frequency transducer, gives temp and speed also. i ilke the duel frequency, you can see your downrigger ball on the screen and drop it at the same level as the fish you are marking !!!!!! can also see a jig on the screen very good unit, highly recomend this unit