Technology has stretched the imagination of the maritime industry evolving from pneumatics to analog electric to the microprocessor revolution. And today....fiber optics. Each technological step has faced the scrutiny of an industry reluctant to change for change's sake. This reluctance is bred not from stubbornness, but from experience with a force unrelenting and unforgiving....the SEA. This paper will evaluate the incorporation of fiber optic technology in the maritime industry from the standpoint of a communication link and a process sensor. The evaluation will consider issues surrounding fiber optics relative to current technological alternatives, implementation costs and environmental considerations. This paper will focus less on describing the fiber optic process and more on issues surrounding implementation, installation and potential. The purpose will not be to praise nor condemn fiber optics or currently used technology, rather it will attempt to point out objectively the functionality of each. This paper will be divided into three major sections, communications, sensor technology and potential applications. Within each section issues associated with implementation, installation and technology shall be discussed. In conclusion the final section shall address what the issues are for standards regarding fiber optics in the commercial maritime industry. For the purposes of this paper the maritime industry is defined as encompassing commercial surface shipping, offshore platforms, semi-submersibles and sub-sea applications and commercially classed US Navy vessels.