The 27-year-old victim, whose name was not released, was waist-deep in the water off Seaside Heights when the incident occurred shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday. A woman who was with the man tried to pull him to safety, but could not due to the strong current and barely got out of the water herself.
There was no lifeguard on duty at the time, so the man's friends called police. Officers and fire department divers later found the man, who was still breathing, but he died a short time later at a nearby hospital.
A cause of death had not been determined as of Wednesday night.