Gus Corlett, one of the directors of The Boat House shows XPRESS the transponder Image Credit: GN archive

Dubai: Boating in Dubai waters has become more expensive with a Dh7,000-security device required onboard boats in the city.

The transponder has to be fitted so authorities can pinpoint vessels in emergencies using radio signals, boat owners said.

But they complained the costs and procedures involved are overbearing - many used small boats cost less than the device itself.

Owners said there is confusion and conflicting reports on steps regarding the transponder's installation, which boats are exempt, or when the rule took effect.

Most cases reportedly involve visits to the National Transport Authority, Critical National Infrastructure Authority, Roads and Transport Authority, and the Coast Guard.

A British boating fan said the vessel has to be hauled on road to the Coast Guard near Port Rashid - but must be in the water at the time of the transponder's fitting.

Not fine

Another owner said he was fined Dh5,000 for returning the transponder to the Coast Guard after he sold his boat - it is illegal for boat owners or operators to handle the device themselves.

"The officials could've told me that from the start," said the owner, who did not want to be named.

The issue is putting off some residents from boating, said Gus Corlett, a vessel owner who is also a director at The Boat House marine services company.

"Some owners are putting their boats up for sale on dubizzle.com. Even people with Dh100,000-boats go ‘How much?' when they hear about it," Corlett said.

"There's apparently no published information on it. Most boat owners are hearing about this from the jungle drums or grapevine," Corlett added.

"It doesn't have to be a difficult process; it just needs a little planning and foresight. Authorities can better explain what the transponder's purpose is and what the course of action is."

Another boating enthusiast, Izzat Dajani, added: "There's no system, no clarity. There are just these teething problems right now."

No comment was immediately available from Dubai Coast Guard.