A lot of bilge pumps were PO installed, and not manufacturer installed, and some PO's ideas of the proper way to do things is less than ideal.
I can think of a few reasons you might want to have a three-way switch instead.
For instance, if you have a maintenance level pump and want to test your emergency bilge pumps and their float switch, it might be nice to be able to shut off the maintenance level pump, which often has the switch installed at a lower height than the higher-volume emergency bilge pumps.
You really should close that each time, when you leave the boat, since a hose failure could end up with your boat sitting on the bottom.
Me, I still close the seacocks on my boat, and on my boat, if I took all the hoses off of them and opened them up, the boat wouldn't sink...
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.