NSBC Recognizes Twiggy the Water Skiing Squirrel with the 2024 Silver Schooner Award

CLEARWATER, FL (April 11, 2024) – The National Safe Boating Council (NSBC), a national catalyst for recreational boating safety, recognized Twiggy the Water Skiing Squirrel with the 2024 Silver Schooner Award at the International Boating and Water Safety Summit in Albuquerque, NM on April 11, 2024.

“You can’t help but smile when you see a squirrel wearing a life jacket while water skiing – what a great way to share with families about boating safety,” said Peg Phillips, executive director of the National Safe Boating Council. “We are thankful for the Best family and their continued partnership with the Council to make a big impact around the nation for boating safety.”

The Silver Schooner Award was established by the United Safe Boating Institute (USBI), and the NSBC continues the legacy by honoring those with significant contributions to the Council. The award may be given to individuals, organizations, commercial concerns, governmental agencies, and public and private clubs. Learn more about the Silver Schooner Award.  

In 1978, avid water enthusiasts Chuck and Lou Ann Best rescued a squirrel after a rainstorm. When Chuck bought a remote-controlled boat for his daughter’s birthday, his friends teased him saying he bought the boat for himself, to which he responded, “I have to learn to drive the boat so I can teach my squirrel to water ski!” 

News spread of Twiggy “the Water Skiing Squirrel,” and the rest is history. Twiggy has performed since September of 1979, traveling all over the world, and appearing in numerous books, magazines, newspapers, and television shows. 

Tragically, in 1997, Chuck drowned while attempting to rescue his stepfather in a boating incident. Upon her husband’s passing, Lou Ann made water safety an important part of Twiggy’s act. 

Chuck Best Jr. and his fiancé have reimagined his parents’ show for an entirely new generation of Twiggy fans. Twiggy is also a mascot for the National Safe Boating Council’s Safe Boating Campaign, a worldwide effort focused on responsible boating, encouraging boaters to always wear a life jacket while on the water. Learn more at

About the National Safe Boating Council

Established in 1958, the National Safe Boating Council is the foremost coalition for the advancement and promotion of safer boating through education, outreach, and training. For more information about NSBC programs and professional development opportunities, visit