I’ve been thinking about the possibility of using a small air pump to create a slight pressure in the motor pod. This air pressure might do a couple of things:
Reduce friction. Instead of a lip seal, I might be able to use a simple nylon bushing with far less friction. With the pod pressurized, air will leak out instead of water leaking in through the bushing.
With a simple check valve/pressure relief valve on the bottom of the pod, the pressure will automatically clear any water that may get in the pod.
A small, DC aquarium air pump like the one below draws far less power than the lip seal consumes. This one operates at 1.8 Watts.