Just a followup. First, thanks for all your help. The bilge pump was sitting down at the bottom of the opening. When pulling it out, the bilge hose disintegrated. That was routed under the engine
mount virtually inaccessible. My mechanic
re-routed a new hose and put the bilge pump on an aluminum
bracket with a long handle so I can easily pull the pump up and out for replacement and/or cleaning
. The pump has a built in float which allowed me to pull the old float out so the pump had more room to rest. So far so good, though I had to pull it out, shop vac the bilge, and clean the pump as it tended to start and then not stop. That seemed to have fixed it, though I am not confident until I consistently check it and it is not running when it shouldn't.
Thanks for your help and support. It was really causing me a lot of anxiety!