agree with your contention that there are so few paddlers out during thunderstorms that no one gets struck.
In fact, summer thunderstorms ride over the Ocoee, the Hiwassee, the Nantahala, the Tuck, and the Pigeon when there are very large numbers of people on the water. Raft services don't cancel trips because of the possibility of thunderstorms. Private boaters don't stay home because thunderstorms *may* come up in the afternoon.
In my 35 years of being in close touch with what happens on these rivers, I know of only one incident where a WW kayaker was stunned by a near miss on the Hiwassee.
I guess if you had any actual statistics, you'd provide them. But don't argue from the supposed rarity of exposure. There's plenty of people out on the water during thunderstorms, and given that, the low rate of actual strikes stands in sharp contrast to NOAA's nanny advice.
PFD's (Life Jackets)
Classic Freestanding Rack
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