In 1984 General Regulator, formally a division of Forney Engineering, successfully installed the first centralized engine room monitoring system using a fiber optic data link onboard a commercial ship. In 1986 a paper by Richard M. Lewis of Forney Engineering was presented to the SAE describing this application and the fundamentals of fiber optic technology. Today General Regulator is a division of TANO Marine Systems. These companies are investigating new fiber optic applications onboard commercial and military ships. This paper describes the design and performance of the original system and the success and reliability of this approach. In addition, this paper explores other applications and future possibilities of fiber optics in control and monitoring systems onboard military and commercial marine vessels. The timely release of fiber optic component and systems specifications by the Naval Sea Systems Command should provide for an increased level of fiber optic system development and applications in the near future.