The apparent drowning victim was Crescencio Ramirez Ramos, 33, of Santa Barbara, Sgt. Joshua Morton said.
Emergency personnel were called to the harbor about 5:15 p.m. and found Ramos on the sand spit at the end of the harbor breakwater. A harbor patrol officer and bystanders were performing CPR on him.
Witnesses told Noozhawk that Ramos, who was with a group of family members, had gone to help a 9-year-old girl who was struggling in the water. Two Santa Barbara City College students rescued the girl, and a surfer pulled Ramos to shore.
Ramos was declared dead at the scene, Morton said.
The Santa Barbara Police Department is investigating the death, and an autopsy is pending.
A GoFundMe page with a goal of $15,000 has been set up to help Ramos’ young children and to pay for his body to be returned to Mexico, where he was born.
He is survived by two sons: Angel, 6, and Bryan, 3.
Anne Elcon, director of marketing and communications at Bacara, described Ramos as “a wonderful man” who was “very beloved.”