Lather up, Long Beach. The city formally rolled out its free sunscreen program at a news conference on Thursday, when officials unveiled one of 14 new dispensers along the boardwalk.
The City Council voted unanimously on June 6 to approve a three-year program with NYU Winthrop to provide the protective lotion at the boardwalk entrance ramps to the beach.
“Following the example of other cities, like New York City, Boston and Miami Beach, the city of Long Beach is going to help protect against the dangers of sun overexposure and skin cancer by providing free sunscreen at our ocean beach park,” City Manager Jack Schnirman said. “This initiative is yet another example of our administration’s efforts to enhance the Long Beach Life for both residents and visitors.”
The dispensers will be located mostly in the center of town — with one at New York Avenue — at the bottom of the ramps on the beach.
The dispensers are provided and maintained by Florida-based Destination Brands International, and each contain about a quart of sea kelp-based sunscreen with SPF 30 that is water resistant for up to 80 minutes. The program is being sponsored and paid for by NYU Winthrop through a three-year, $110,000 grant, city officials said.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to provide skin protection to our residents and those who visit the beach, and it’s at no cost to the taxpayers, so it’s a win-win for everybody,” said Councilwoman Chumi Diamond.
City officials said that the initiative is part of a larger Winthrop program to promote sun protection, adding that hospital representative will set up informational booths on the boardwalk throughout the summer to spread awareness about skin protection. The hospital will also sponsor some summer events, including the city’s annual Fireworks Extravaganza, the Arts and Crafts Festival and the free summer concert series.
“Melanoma is one of the most dangerous, yet most preventable forms of cancer,” Dr. Peter O’Neill, Chief of Dermatology at NYU Winthrop Hospital, said in a statement. “We know the potentially life-saving effects of our efforts and are proud of the positive impact that this partnership will have on many lives over the course of the next three years.”
The city’s approval of the measure came after the Town of Hempstead announced earlier this month that it was installing 25 sunscreen dispensers at all town beaches and pools through a $25,000 grant from South Nassau Communities Hospital.
“I’m a denizen of these beaches for many, many years and I have, unfortunately, several scars from skin cancer treatment to attest to the fact that it’s a very serious disease,” said Ed Keating, NYU Winthrop senior vice president of marketing, advertising and public relations. “But it’s also one of the most preventable forms of cancer in the world. When people get skin cancer, it’s not the damage that they’ve done to themselves in the last year, it’s damage — as it was in my case — that goes back sometimes 10, 20, 30 years, and it builds up over time.”