Harbour Craft Transponder System

The Harbour Craft Transponder System (HARTS) allows harbour craft within Singapore to be tracked for security reasons. All powered harbour craft must be installed with either HARTS or AIS.

Harbour Craft Transponder System (HARTS) enables the automatic identification of all powered harbour and pleasure craft plying in Singapore waters. This allows the security agencies to focus on craft without an identification tag.

The objective is to enhance the security of Singapore’s port waters.


All mechanically propelled harbour craft are required to be installed with the HARTS transponder.

Craft must have a transponder fitted before they can be registered as a harbour and pleasure craft.

Craft with an Automated Identification System (AIS) are exempted from the installation of HARTS as the Authorities are also able to monitor the movements of craft.

Operational area of HARTS
The operational area is the Singapore port waters. The craft owner has to ensure that the transponder is turned on and working when the craft is operating within Singapore port waters.

The HARTS transponder is not required to be turned on when the craft is tied up at a jetty or wharf within Singapore port waters. However, the craft owner has to ensure that the transponder is turned on and working before proceeding out to sea.

Key features of the HARTS transponder

The key features are:

  • Automatic transmission of craft identity, position, course and speed in real time.
  • The transponder and base plate must come in a pair to ensure that every transponder unit deployed will operate only on the authorised harbour craft.
  • Panic Button’ on transponder for craft owner to alert the shore-based control centre in event of a security threat or emergency.

Costs of HARTS transponder

The cost of a portable transponder is $933.04 and $973.70 for a fixed transponder. The cost, which includes standard installation cost, is subject to a 7% GST. The contractor, ST Electronics (Info-Comm systems) Pte Ltd is able to commit to this price because of advanced bulk order.

The annual operating cost per transponder is $120, paid by the owner.

Damage or loss of transponder

The Port Operations Control Centre (POCC) should be contacted immediately if the transponder is lost or damaged:

  • Tel: 6773 7449
  • Secondary tel: 6325 2493

If the craft owner wishes to go out to sea without a functioning transponder, approval must first be obtained from the POCC. The following information must be provided to the POCC:

  • Owner / Informant’s name
  • NRIC / Passport No.
  • Contact No. (home & mobile)
  • Craft License No.
  • Location of craft on departing
  • Expected departing time
  • Destination(s)
  • Expected returning time
  • Location of craft on returning

Approval for craft without a functioning transponder to go out to sea is given on a case-to-case basis.

Repair cost

The repair cost of the transponder is covered by the annual S$120 operating cost.

If the fault is due to failure of electronic components, the faulty transponder will be replaced at no additional cost.

Penalty for failing to carry a HARTS transponder

Any person who contravenes or fails to comply with any of the conditions and restrictions subject to or upon which any license is issued under the MPA (Harbour Craft) Regulations and MPA (Pleasure Craft) Regulations shall be guilty of an offence, and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 and, in the case of a continuing offence, to a further fine not exceeding $1,000 for every day or part thereof during which the offence continues after conviction. The offence may be compounded up to a maximum fine of $500. In addition, the Port Master may cancel or suspend the license.

Misusing the HARTS system or the "Panic Button"

No person shall improperly or without reasonable cause, activate (except in the event of an emergency or security threat), disable, meddle, damage or otherwise interfere with the HARTS transponder equipment and/or the "Panic Button".

Penalty for misusing the "Panic Button"

Pursuant to the relevant Regulations for Harbour Craft and Pleasure Craft, the Port Master will view any misuse of the HARTS "Panic Button" as a serious breach of the licensing conditions which may result in a cancellation or suspension of the harbour craft or the pleasure craft license.

Accidental activation of the “Panic Button”

The owner must report immediately to the Port Operations Control Centre (POCC) at :

  • Tel: 6773 7449
  • Secondary tel: 6325 2493


Q1. How does HARTS work?

A1. The HARTS set-up comprises three main components:

  • HARTS transponders fitted onboard the craft;    
  • Wireless communication link, and    
  • A shore-based tracking system.

Real time data from the transponder such as vessel identity, position, speed, course and other information are transmitted to a shore-based system via the wireless communication link. The GSM/GPRS (Global System for Mobile communications/General Packet Radio Service) offered by the local telcos (Telecommunications Service Providers) is used for the wireless communication link as it is currently the most cost effective solution requiring minimum set up cost as the base station is already in place. To ensure minimum or no intervention from craft owner/user, a ‘black-box’ design has been adopted for the HARTS transponder to be installed onboard the craft.    

Q2. How long can the battery of a portable transponder last?

A2. Generally, the battery can last for 48 hours of continuous operation.       

Q3. When a craft is sold, can the owner transfer the transponder to another craft?

A3. Yes, the owner has to inform MPA if he intends to transfer the transponder to another craft. Upon authorisation by MPA, he has to make arrangement with the MPA appointed contractor to transfer the transponder. MPA will update the transponder identity number after the transponder has been transferred to the newly-registered craft.      

Q4. How do I know whether the transponder is turned on and operational?

A4. A built-in LED light (marked with the word STATUS) would first be displayed in red when the transponder is switched on. The same LED light would subsequently change to green when the transponder is operational.

If the LED light is unlit or continues to display a red light after 2-3 minutes, it indicates that the transponder is faulty.

Q5. How do I know whether the battery of a portable transponder requires charging?

A5. Another built-in LED light (marked with a symbol of a dry cell battery) will be displayed in red when the battery level of the portable transponder is low. Same LED light will change to green during charging, and the LED light will go off when the battery is fully charged.

Q6. Where is the "Panic Button" located?

A6. For the Fix Mounted Transponders (usually installed onboard harbour craft) the "Panic Button" is marked with the word "PANIC" and is usually located at the control panel near the steering wheel. On some harbour craft the "Panic Button" is hidden from view at a discrete location; as requested by the craft owner.

As for the Portable Transponder, the "Panic Button" is located on the transponder casing and marked “FOR EMERGENCY USE".