A retired lifeguard from Brick is being celebrated as a hero for his quick thinking and bravery in rescuing a young child from Lakewood who was drifting away in the ocean on a boogie board.

The incident happened around 7 p.m. Wednesday night at Mantoloking Beach. Matt Portnoy, who was enjoying the beach, heard an 11-year-old boy on a boogie board crying for help.

Without hesitation, Matt swam out.

In an admirable display of composure, Matt's first step was to reassure the young boy and advise him to stay calm.

Recognizing that the child couldn't kick his way back due to the boogie board, Matt gauged the pull of the rip tide and assessed the perfect moment to bring the child to safety.

Thanks to his quick and precise actions, the child was reunited with his anxious mother on the shore.

Matt's action was nothing short of heroic. The situation could have taken a tragic turn if not for his presence and lifeguard expertise. Despite the beach being nearly deserted, the young boy's cries for help reached a trained lifeguard, ultimately saving the day.

Now an insurance broker, Matt took the opportunity to educate those involved about the dynamics of rip tides and the potential pitfalls of relying solely on life jackets in such scenarios.

He stressed that life jackets, while crucial in specific circumstances like being on boats, can hinder swimming in rip currents.

Matt hopes that sharing this experience will serve as a valuable lesson to others and potentially save lives in the future. His selfless act of heroism and the information he provided illustrate the importance of both preparedness for and understanding of the water.

Matt's commitment to ensuring the safety of beachgoers continues to shine, even in his retirement from lifeguard.

Restores your faith in mankind, doesn’t it?

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