Browsing fishing reports, I came across someone who personally tested surf temperatures with a fishing pole and thermometer. This is what he reported:
I have had a number of customers both in the store and on the phone ask about the surf temperature. So I grabbed one of my plugging rods and my Depth-O-Plug thermometer and stopped off at the beach (Ship Bottom) on my way back from the post office at 3pm. I made three casts. Each one I left the thermometer in the water for exactly 2 minutes and then retrieved to read the temp and then casted back out. All three readings were 54 degrees. Obviously the ocean temp is colder in deeper water. Please also take into account that the light onshore breeze (that just started) has push the warmer surface water temperatures on to the beach. It is what it is. Take it for what it is worth. As per NOAA the ocean temperature at Atlantic City is 55.6 degrees. Looks like it's finally warming up. - FishHead.Greg"