Story originally posted: 2:36 p.m. EDT June 13, 2013
(News-Press) -- Riding any wild animal is generally not a good idea, but in this YouTube video, a man did just that - he ridesa giant whale shark off Florida's west coast.
The video was posted under the user name LimitedOutFishing and shows a man jumping off the back of a fishing boat, swimming to the whale shark, grabbing its dorsal fin and then turning back to smile at the camera.
The video description posted by LimitedOutFishing says it was taken approximately 30 nautical miles off Captiva in about 80 feet of water.
Whale sharks are rare, but not protected under federal or state law.
Kim Amendola with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries department said while legal, the grabbing or trying to ride a whale shark is not recommended.
"The only way it would be illegal was if it was listed on the Endangered Species Act," Amendola said. "But our agency doesn't advocate swimming with them."
See Also:Woman arrested for riding manatee
A YouTube comment by Dr. Bob Hueter from Mote Marine Laboratory advises boats keep a safe distance from whale sharks and for swimmers to keep at least six feet away. "Touching, much less riding, a whale shark is discouraged for the health of the fish and the swimmers' safety," Hueter writes.
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