High Frequency Radar (HFR) technology refers to land based remote sensing instruments capable of measuring surface currents and ocean waves at ranges up to 200 km or more. HFR technology is widely acknowledged as a cost-efficient tool to monitor coastal regions and has potential use to monitor coastal regions all over the world. Globally, the number of HFR stations is steadily increasing. Regional networks provide real-time data in support of operational activities such as search and rescue operations, fast response in case of maritime accidents and spill of pollutants, and resource management. Each operator needs a general understanding of the working principles in order to ensure that instruments are managed properly. A set of harmonized quality assurance and quality control procedures is recommended, along with an effective approach to HFR data discovery and dissemination, to provide high quality measurements to the end users. Different documents providing best practices for operation and maintenance have emerged in the past years. They are oriented either to Direction Finding (DF) or Beam Forming (BF) systems, or to specific manufacturer’s radar systems. The main objective of this paper is to offer a comprehensive “Best Practices” document in an effort of ensuring consistency between different deployments and harmonized operations of HFR systems. This, regardless of system manufacturer, antenna design and setup. A homogeneous approach is given when possible, general concepts and definitions are introduced in order to provide a framework for both data processing and management steps. Examples are also given from the European HFR users with focus on Near Real Time data flow suitable for operational services.