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ekenna, to paraphrase Will Rogers "The only good bilge pump is a dead bilge pump."
Submersion shouldn't kill one, although a good cleaning and drying (using something like WD40 or a silicone spray to displace the last of the water from the motor coils) might be in order after a soaking.
There really is a bit of an art to getting a bilge pump installed and plumbed properly, and reliably, and you should be able to find many articles and discussions about that online. There also really should be limber holes between each bilge compartment, and if there aren't, the proper procedure to to drill them and epoxy the walls of each hole so there's no water damage to any wood they pass through. That still may leave you with drainage issues, depending on how the bilge slopes and how the boat is trimmed (bow down, stern down) so some creativity may be in order. Some folks have built up their bilge with epoxy or other material to make sure it all slopes and drains toward the pump. Others install more pumps, i.e. you could install a small pump in one compartment and just have it move seepage to the next one, in order to keep it dry. That presumes "the next one" would handle both compartments in the event of a real problem.
But if you look online--there's a wealth of stuff out there. The trick is to look, and look again, and pick the right fix for the real problem. And then be very good about making your wiring water-tight, and assuming your electric pump may very well need to be replaced every year anyhow. (A good reason to have 2 or more pumps in the first place, so one failure won't ruin your day.)