Free Sunscreen Beacon Beams at Beach 95th


Summer may be winding down, but the sun sure isn’t. Sunscreen is still essential for protecting yourself from those harmful rays and potential skin cancer. Brightguard and Impact Melanoma are still making an impact on reminding people to apply the SPF.

Starting Memorial Day weekend, Rockaway was introduced to some of Brightguard’s free SPF 30 sunscreen dispensers. The small, single dispensers have dotted high-traffic beach areas all summer long and visitors and residents alike have been taking advantage of the free sunscreen when they forget to bring their own or run out. Now, the California-based company has taken it a step further by installing a seven-foot sunscreen tower that is sure to catch the eyes of passersby.

On Sunday, August 20, the tower featuring four dispensers and an umbrella to keep beachgoers covered as they apply, was installed near the Beach 97th Concession. The Sun Safety Station is a brand new tool for Brightguard, which introduced the towers just a few weeks ago. After trying them out at events like a music festival in Arizona and then Summer Streets in Manhattan, where Brightguard co-founder and CEO Ryan Warren says the tower served 5,000 people within a five-hour period, going through the whole gallon of sunscreen inside the device. “People were flocking to it,” he said. With the success of the temporary installations, Brightguard brought one to stay in Rockaway, making it the first permanently installed Sun Safety Station in the country.

On Monday, Warren and co-founder and COO Alex Beck were on hand to talk more about the new device. “This is similar to the smaller dispensers we’ve had here, but we designed this bigger tower to be a beacon so that people could more easily recognize that there’s free sunscreen here, from a further distance away. You can easily walk by the smaller dispensers and not know what it is. This is unavoidable,” Beck said.

Warren and Beck were inspired to start Brightguard after a wakeup call about skin cancer. “A friend of ours almost died from melanoma. He was only 24. He survived, but it was an eye-opening moment and we started talking about why we didn’t really use sunscreen and how it wasn’t that available. If you have to choose between buying food, beer or sunscreen, you’re going to buy food or beer first. So we had this idea to make sunscreen more available and free so that more people would use it. Skin cancer is preventable. If you wear sunscreen, it reduces your chances. That’s why we’re here,” Warren explained. Brightguard dispensers can now be found in all 50 states and even Canada. 

The new Sun Safety Station will be in place until the last day the beaches are open, September 10, but it, along with additional towers, will be back for the summer 2018 season.

“Our overall mission is to reduce skin cancer by 20 percent by 2025. It’s a bold goal and difficult to track, but we and the work we’ve done with Impact Melanoma has already been credited with reducing melanoma figures in the northeast. We’re already making a difference and we’re hoping that with the addition of these towers, more people will have access to sunscreen and will recognize this as a thing,” Beck said.

For more information about Brightguard, head to


Alex Beck and Ryan Warren show off the new Sun Safety Station.


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