Handy billy

From Ship Mechanics
Jump to: navigation, search

Handy billy -- also known as Handy-billie -- was/is a common emergency portable pump that was placed aboard most U.S. Navy ships since World War I.

Purpose of the pump[edit]

The handy billy, formally designated "P50", because it pumped 50 gallons per minute, was gasoline-powered and could be used, during flooding conditions, in conjunction with other pumps on the ship. However, it was especially valuable when the ship lost electrical power and normal pumping ability was lost.

On smaller ships, it was a critical piece of equipment.

Named “handy billy”[edit]

The pump gained its name because it was very “handy” and dependable. It was especially handy because it could be easily transported from place to place by two strong crew members, one at each end, as it weighed 160 pounds during World War II.


The handy billy could be used for fire-fighting and/or pumping water from flooded spaces aboard ship.

Example of use[edit]

See USS Auk (AM-38)

See also[edit]


  • Morison, Samuel Eliot (1963). "page 529". The Two-Ocean War. New York: Galahad Books. ISBN 1-57866-003-3. 

External links[edit]