E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Green Hands (a nautical phrase).
Inferior sailors, also called boys. A crew is divided into (1) Able seamen; (2) Ordinary seamen; and (3) Green hands or boys. The term boys has no reference to age, but merely skill and knowledge in seamanship. Here green means not ripe, not mature.