Craig McCabe’s Big Adventure

Craig McCabe

Mark Twain famously quipped that a man with one watch knows exactly what time it is; a man with two is never sure. A nice example of that is provided by Internet news sites, which make it possible to pull up different newspaper articles describing the same event.

I thought about that when reading today about Craig McCabe, a lawyer who lives aboard his powerboat Heather in Marina del Rey. McCabe was singlehanding the boat from Marina del Rey to Newport Harbor this past Thursday, when he fell overboard and ended up spending more than five hours in the water.

Meanwhile, his boat wandered off on its own and eventually plowed into Catalina Island, prompting a search for the missing boater. He was plucked from the water near a buoy that sounds like it might be the LA Harbor entrance buoy. But first he was overlooked by a passing fishing boat, almost run down by a passing freighter, clung to a balloon and some driftwood, recited the 23rd Psalm, and was threatened by a territorial sea lion.

The articles all pretty much agree on these dramatic apects of the story. But there seems to be an interesting looseness regarding more basic information like how old McCabe is (58 or 59, depending on which article you read), and how long his boat is (either 50, 55, or 65 feet).

Anyway, you can read the articles and try to figure out the details for yourself:

All the articles seem to agree that McCabe was checking over the side to see if his boat had snagged a lobster pot when he fell in, which is easy enough to believe. But I find myself wondering if it might actually be that McCabe is embarrassed to admit that the real reason he was leaning over the side was that he was peeing.

I guess I’ll never know. Anyway, I’m glad the story had a happy ending.

Photo: McCabe, along with his daughter Kelly and Dr. Jonathon Lawrence, at a press conference Friday at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach. Photo by Bruce Chambers of the Orange County Register.

15 Responses to “Craig McCabe’s Big Adventure”

  1. Carlos Says:

    Why wasn’t he wearing a PFD?

  2. John Callender Says:

    I’m betting he will be from here on out.

  3. LaKishia Says:

    I thank and praise God for Him bringing you out of that situation. I also thank and Praise God for you realizing that it was Him who bought you out.
    It is a must for you to tell others especially those (With MONEY) that life is not about them and their money but our purpose here on earth is solely about glorifying God and setting captives free for the Kingdom of God and for God’s Glory and His Glory ONLY!

  4. Linda Gunn Says:

    My husband and I were the boaters that found Craig, notified the Coast Guard, I threw him the life ring and then franticly waved down his brother’s passing boat. We left the scene when the harbor patrol arrived so as not to get in the way. We are so glad to be a part of Craig’s miricle.
    Our story is an amazing series of events that lead us to red buoy #2. And even more weird is that our daughter’s name is HEATHER and she used to train sea lions for Sea World!

  5. David Sheriff Says:

    As a marine electrician, I have a slightly different perspective on Mr. McCabe. He stiffed me on an invoice in 2003 for $187.50. Craig McCabe called me on 10/24/03 to replace a battery on his boat, a 65 ft Stephens, the “Heather”, tied up at the foot of 20th st. on the Balboa Penninsulia, Newport Beach. McCabe had a new 8 volt battery on-board, he just wanted us to swap it out. The boat’s starboard battery rack had an aluminum rail and someone had started to change out a battery. A wrench got crosswise, melting the battery terminal and large hole in the rail. Judging by the amount of melted and vaporized material, it must have been quite spectacular. I replaced the battery and advised McCabe to install polyetheleyne spacers between the batteries to prevent a recurrence. I also cleaned and tightened the corroded connections to the rest of the batteries that were keeping the boat from starting. McCabe gave me a bilkling address on Century Park East in LA. When that mail bounced, he gave me an address in Newport. Still no luck. Finally his cell phone number quit taking messages.

    McCabe, I hope your brush with death has convinced you to pay the people who work on your boat. Judging by the condition it was in at the time, not very many people did.

    Editor’s note: In January of 2007, Craig McCabe emailed me the following, asking that I place it immediately after the above comment. I figured, sure; I can do that. — John Callender

    Dear Mr. Sheriff,

    You have mis-stated the facts. One, the address I gave you was my business card as Senior Litigation Counsel for one of the largest corporations in America, which at the time, now and for the last 20 years has been headquartered at that address and where I recieved mail at the time. Second, the boat had been and remainded in same dock space for two years and you could have also left a bill there that I would have recieved. Third, at that time, when you changed cell phone companies it was not possible to keep the same cell phone number, though you can do that today. Fourth, the boats condition was excellent, though she was and is over forty years old and may not be similiar to newer yachts you work on. Further, I posted my current address on this blog over 6 months ago when a friend saw you entry by after Googleing my name so you could send me a new bill and I would have you address to send you a check. I have yet to hear from you.

    All of this goes to show the danger of too quickly judging others and the increased dangers of libel as a result of the internet.

    Craig McCabe

  6. Ryan Dunn Says:

    My question is, why would someone pull a lawyer out of the water? Perhaps he didn’t identify himself as such at the time.

    It will be interesting to see who he tries to sue for his suffering. The boat manufacturer, the lobster pot owner, the Coast Guard?

    Lawyers… can’t live with ’em, can’t feed ’em to the sea lions.

  7. George Whitehurst Says:

    I just watched Mr. McCabe on the “Hour of Power” (3/19/06) and he appeares to be a changed man! David, submit a new bill!

  8. Mike Says:

    You have been taped on the shoulder fella to remind U that you are not Craig al-mighty. You were keeped here for a purpose. First maybe you should pay the guy you stiffed for 187.50 that change the battery inyour boat.I’m a working stiff all so andI know what it feels like to be stiffed for even just $35.00.Its just the principle. Be Well, Enjoy the life you have been given

  9. John Callender Says:

    I just received the following via email:

    From: (address deleted)
    Subject: Craig McCabe
    Date: April 24, 2006 10:53:05 PM PDT

    Please add this response re your blog article re me.

    Dear Mr. Sherriff,

    My address is 351 Old Newport Blvd. #115, Newport Beach, CA 92663.

    Please send a copy of your bill and it will be paid.

    Craig McCabe

  10. Casey Cheng Says:

    I just can’t get over this: One degree from brain dead; two degrees from plain death–not sooner. No PFD, log, balloon or any rescue effort works until the heart repents. Such tender love for a hard-core attorney yet such tough love! This is how God reach down to us fallen and wayward humans. What an awesome God is this!

  11. Judy Willis Says:

    Thank you Craig. And I thank God for your story. My 15-year old niece is in the St. Joseph’s Children hospital right now with a tumor in her neck next to her spine. Piaist, drummer(wanted by many local band, and harpist, Chelsea) I doubt God’s existance all of the time, but not for long. Miracles happen ALL OF THE TIME, And you are proof of that. And the day I went without my faith was a horrible day. God is real. And I saved this video clip of your interview (third frame from left) I DON’T KNOW YOU..BUT THANK YOU…. AND IT’S CREEPY TO READ SOME OF THE DUNG THAT STRANGERS THROW OUT TO FEEL BETTER ABOUT THEMSELVES.

  12. Capt. Mack Steagall Says:

    This guy Craig owes a diver in Marina del Rey, Rim Fay Jr. 165.00 for work he did on Craigs boat. Craig told me he was very happy with the work, but did not like the way Rim asked him for payment. I quit working on his boat over this issue. I saw my turn coming. Yeah, he tried to get me on his batteries… I was too smart to fall into his trap. We talked to you several times, privately, Craig! Now it’s public. Pay Rim!!!!!!

  13. David Sheriff Says:

    I guess I don’t look here as often as I should. I just noticed that Mr. McCabe left his address for me back in 2006. That is the same address he gave me when last we talked in 2003. There is a notation on the bottom of a copy of an invoice I resent him at that address, along with a statement, on December 29, 2003. Obviously this was the second attempt to invoice Mr. McCabe that was also unfruitful in my initial remarks.

    It is my intention to send Mr. McCabe one more invoice at the Newport Beach address by US mail tomorrow morning. I will report the results, if any.

    As for Mr. McCabes somewhat belligerent opening sentence, “You have mis-stated the facts.” and his equally threatening closing sentence mentioning libel, I do not see that any of the facts I described were false. I said I sent invoices to two different addresses which he has now confirmed and that I could not reach him by phone, also confirmed.

    I stand by my characterization of Mr McCabes boat as I saw it in 2003, which suffered from deferred maintenance at the time, in my professional opinion. I also note that I am pretty “Googleable”
    and the amount is right up there in print. I guess you figured you would wait until I tripped over this again rather than seek out my address and send a check.

    I have come to specialize in the older boats such as Mr. McCabes Stephens and have developed 32 volt equipment for that purpose. Mr. McCabe, if you still need electrical work done I’m still around and can provide some sterling references. I am also NMEA CMET certified now.

  14. Rim Fay Says:

    Well I can tell all you people a story about this boat owner I met and worked for that had a boat named “Heather”and was a 65’stevens owned by a person named Craig also.He docked the boat in M.D.Rey and traveled to Catalina and Newport often.I was his diver and I thought,friend.I worked under that aluminum boat for some time and still have all his notes and invoices for my services performed as per his agreement.First of all Capt.Mack is a little off as Craig agreed to pay me in full in cash180.00 if I dropped what other customers cleanings I had scheduled as it was 2days before Xmas and as he pointed out “I am a single parent with 3 minors fulltime and could use the cash for Xmas.” He was right and promised to pay me immediatley as he was onboard,not going anywhere,and showed me a large wad of cash.Craig was already oweing a “balance due” but I still did the work taking extra time at no extra charge,to his delight. Catalina here I come.Did I mention that I’m Hadicapped also?Degenarative Spinal Damadge from my LOVE for Gods gift,the sea,working with my Father as a Scientific Commercial Fisherman.Easy work compared to working for somebody who has no intention of paying in the first place.Yes,when I was done he WAS GONE.Multiple requests,by mail certified,phone calls,visits by the boat where ignored to the point of finding him drinking what appeared to be a bottle of red wine and eating cheese with a pretty young lady early Sunday morning.Must have been a very early Church service that day. He also supplied me with the same billing info as the previous(still?)unpaid worker above.Oh well life goes on and I’ve been Blessed in a different way.Yes’I would still like to be PAID,but have recently beaten a Lifethreatning illness by about an hour.As far as operating his boat COME ON and GET REAL!Who even leaves the boat in gear at speed,to check(climbing down from the flybridge)for a fouled prop involving rope?Way to many questions than reasonable answers for me,but what would I know after 40+ years on and under the sea?Mr.(not captain)McCabe I beleive in Carma,and you’re going to get bit hard one of these days and I hope You think of the people(working stiffs)you’ve wronged!Childrens advocate HA!You hurt my 3.Stay off the ocean as it’s waiting for YOU! As far as our last meeting You turn a pretty shade of RED and what a vocabulary!I noticed the young lady leave within 10 minutes(to smart for You huh)! So sue me if You don’t agree with what Ive said here as I have””nt worked in 8mons.Don’t forget I had Dave with me that Sunday.Besides You’re probably doing what You told me about getting drunk and slipping off the curb and sueing MPH for you’re hurt ankle.Stay Dry. R.F. What an attorney and human you are.Hope your kids are different!!!!!

  15. Linda Fulcher Says:

    Hi Mr. McCabe, I am glad you are ok. I am the lady that can to your hospital room to pray for you. The lady that had on the black suit and leapord cow boy hat on.I have wonder through the years that if you were ok. If you read this please try to contact me ok.I hope you were able to find a church home.

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