Sailors are getting ready for Saturday's annual Farallones race andc hanges have been made to make this year's race safer after last year's competition ended tragically when five people died when their boat capsized in heavy waves,
John Duncan, a sailor, showed KTVU a new life vest he bought ahead of this year's Farallones race.
"They've recommended the inflatable ones over the old-fashioned ones I liked to wear," Duncan said.
The life vest inflates in seconds when it hits the water and it keeps the upper body well above the water line with little effort.
Sailors are now required to wear some of the safest gear on the market.
Five experienced members of the Low Speed Chase crew were killed laser year after they sailed too close to the islands.
An investigation found that crewmembers thrown from the boat after it capsized had not used their harnesses and at least one member was wearing a suboptimal life jacket.
"Right after the Low Speed Chase accident, all sailing races were stopped by the captain of the port here and they pretty much had a stand-down and said, 'This is what we need to do,'" said Jeannie Crump, a Coast Guard lieutenant.
Adam McAfee was friends with a Low Speed Chase crew member.
He said their deaths have forced sailors to recognize the risks involved with their sport.
"The rules will have sailors thinking differently -- slightly more conservative, safety-conscious," McAfee said.
Other requirements this year include two sets of man-overboard gear instead of one, and mandatory tethering. Next year, a third of the crew will be required to take safety courses.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.