Sorry to hear. That's the nature of the river though, can be pretty dicey. How is Lightning Jacks? Did they ever finish dredging? I've been using the Florence ramp, much cheaper and there's always water. I like Jacks but they want way too much to use the ramp especially considering there was dry land in the marina for 2-3 hours on each side of low tide.
I was out Saturday and rode through a massive debris field for a couple miles before we found reasonably clear water. Logs, branches, trash, deer carcasses, etc. Hit one piece of wood but fortunately I don't see any damage to gel or running gear, sounded like it was very brittle and just shattered. In any event, I would probably go dripless if you have the shaft out. I hate water in the boat, especially when I leave it in for a couple weeks in the summer.
Personally I used the gore-tex virtually dripless packing last time I had the shaft out and it does work pretty well. Drips much less than regular packing. Next time I have the shaft out I may do a dripless. I would consider the Lasdrop seals as well as PSS. Things to consider if you ever need a tow some dripless seals will burn up and leak from the shaft spinning fairly slow while being towed. Others I believe are less prone to overheat or be damaged if run dry. Not sure which is which but I've heard several failures of OJ seals while being towed and in general which leads me to believe Lasdrop and PSS are higher quality. PSS seals by tension from the bellows which concerns me and seems kind of cheesy.
If in doubt, you can always use the newer gore-tex packing. One thing to keep in mind is when a dripless seal fails it typically fails with a LOT of water coming in as compared to a rope seal which will typically be a more slow and gradual failure mode. A big bilge pump or two pumps would be a good idea especially since you keep yours in the water.