Gary Mathias, 48, of Portsmouth, died Wednesday after he was swept into the ocean by a wave near the Sachuest Point Wildlife Refuge, Middletown police said.
Police responded just after 4 a.m. to the national refuge for a report of a fisherman being swept into the ocean.
Sgt. Mark Minnella arrived first and located the victim floating in the surf. Sgt Minnella entered the water with a life line attached, but the surf was to rough to allow him to reach the victim, police said.
Mathias' body was later found floating in the surf and was unresponsive. The victim was brought to the Third Beach Boat ramp, where Newport Rescue personnel began CPR.
Mathias was then transported to Newport Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
The incident remains under investigation at this time.