James Robert Bostwick is a Gulf of Mexico charter captain. He is also one of the very few people (we know of) to ever ride a shark. In early June, Bostwick came across a 30-foot whale shark off the coast of Florida and decided to hitch a ride. He swam up to the shark and grabbed onto its dorsal fin. Then he hung on for dear life as the shark swam. A friend took a video (below) and it was posted to Facebook.
After the video began to spread, people began questioning whether his behavior could be illegal. Riding a manatee is illegal in Florida, and several people have actually been arrested for doing this.
Though whale sharks are a protected species, technically it is legal to ride them. Or rather, there's no law on the books preventing it, probably because no legislator imagined someone would actually try to ride a whale shark. Bostwick was pretty relieved to learn it was legal, posting on his Facebook, "Redemption for all the nay sayers that said I was illegal" after the determination was made.
While it wasn't against the law, it is a pretty terrible idea. Sharks have a protective mucus layer on their skin, and when it is disturbed (as it can be when a human tries to ride one) it can hurt the shark's overall health. Also, whale sharks are gigantic. They are about the length of a bus and generally weigh about 20 tons. They can do some damage, even if they can't eat you.