Commercial and military ships of the next century will have many new capabilities not present today. These capabilities can be realized only after certain design needs or requirements have been satisfied by the shipbuilder. (The term shipbuilder includes ship designers and ship fabricators). The introduction of fiber optic technology may make it easier for the shipbuilder to meet these needs. Three important shipbuilding requirements are discussed together with one or more examples. Conventional approaches are contrasted with those utilizing fiber optic techniques. Fiber optics appears to satisfy these design needs. There are, however, a few issues that must be considered as these techniques are applied to ships. These issues are identified. The success of fiber optics on ship platforms will depend largely upon a cooperative exchange of information between the shipbuilder and the fiber optics community. Some suggested topics for this exchange are listed.