Christening Our Newest Boat: The Billy Greene


Feature story - September 29, 2003
We recently christened our new boat, the Billy Greene. The new rigid inflatable boat (RIB) has been donated to Greenpeace by Partner in Action Robin Davey to commemorate the life of her son, Hamilton Billy Greene.

The Billy Greene

Activists in inflatable boats confronting environmental wrongdoers at sea may be the most recognizable image of Greenpeace around the world. Activists in RIBs have been chasing commercial whalers, industrial fishing trawlers, ships transporting toxic or radioactive materials, barges loaded with illegally harvested mahogany, and more for decades. Billy's name, which appears on the side of the RIB, will live on in forceful images published in newspapers around the globe as testimony to the power each individual has to change the world.

The RIB is one of the safest small offshore boats manufactured. Often-called "rubber dinghy," it is more sophisticated than it appears. Below the water is a hard fiberglass hull that allows the boat to travel at high speeds through rough seas. A specially constructed rubber tube above the hull gives the boat exceptional buoyancy and stability in the water. A powerful engine makes the boat fast and maneuverable. All these qualities are key to keeping up and drawing attention to whalers and others who destroy our planet.

In honor of Billy Greene, Greenpeace launched its newest and largest, 8-meter (26-foot) RIB. It has the extended range and payload capacities necessary to travel great distances, carry up to 18 people and 100 gallons of fuel, and is able to store fresh food and dry clothes. The Billy Greene will open up the possibility for Greenpeace in the United States to confront offshore environmental problems that used to be out of our reach when a Greenpeace "mothership" was not around.

In Memory of Hamilton Billy Greene

Billy Greene was a promising young filmmaker and animator who was shot and killed in Emeryville, California, on September 9, 2001, during an apparent robbery attempt. Born March 19, 1968, Billy had a remarkably sunny and generous personality. His art reflected his acute perceptiveness, gentleness, and subtle sense of humor. Billy's last work, the independently produced short animated film "Thought Bubble," premiered at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. It has since been exhibited at film festivals worldwide and continues to win significant awards.

Billy cherished all aspects of the natural world and took every opportunity to spend time in it: he was a backpacker, a snowboarder, swimmer, and a conscientious bicyclist. He always treated the Earth and everything on it with respect and love. Although he was a peace-loving person, he knew when more forceful, confrontational efforts needed to be made, and he greatly admired Greenpeace's work. It is fitting that "his" boat carry those who continue to seek to make the world a better place.