William, who arrived from the UK on a commercial flight, travelled to Governors Island to meet students, volunteers and restaurateurs involved in the Billion Oyster Project, a unique initiative to restore oyster beds in New York harbour.
He stood in the bow of the boat with Pete Malinowski, co-founder and executive director of the Billion Oyster Project, as it travelled to the outcrop at the centre of the operation.
Manhattan’s skyline was clearly visible despite the persistent rain which had ended a mini September heatwave in the Big Apple, with the top floors of the highest skyscrapers shrouded in mist.
During his visit William will promote his Earthshot Prize which aims to celebrate and scale up solutions to “repair” the planet, and announce the 2023 finalists.
Later he will sit down for talks with UN secretary general Antonio Guterres as the 78th session of the UN General Assembly begins.
A Kensington Palace spokesman said: “The prince is very much looking forward to seeing the secretary general and they are expected to speak about climate change and the environment as well as the innovative solutions that the Earthshot Prize is cultivating around the world.”
The first planned stop was a hatchery centre for the fledgling oysters and William will also tour a group of tanks where the next generation are nurtured.
William will meet high school students who are volunteering and learning about the project to restock the oyster population, with larvae relocated to a nursery made from discarded and cleaned oyster shells from 75 New York seafood restaurants.
The shells are housed in metal cages in the East River and it is hoped the molluscs, which cannot be eaten because of water pollution, will form oyster reefs providing three important benefits – filtration, new habitat and protection against storms.