Chris Kreis, a 19-year-old from Florida, was on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico with his family when he jumped overboard and grab the dorsal fin of a 30-foot whale shark swimming past.
“I decided, you know what, maybe I should go try and swim with him. I might not be able to do it ever again,” Kreis said.
An ABC News article says Kreis’ ride lasted only 9 seconds. The viral video of his stunt has garnered either praise for acting on a once-in-a-lifetime moment, or criticism for harassing wildlife.
“When people spend a lot of time and [put] a lot of pressure on a fish, it takes away that slime covering and potentially has negative health impacts for the fish,” marine biologist Bruce Neill said.
While Florida has measures in place to protect some sea animals from human interference, like manatees, riding whale sharks is not a crime and Kreis probably won’t be cited. But just because you can do something, does that mean you should?