A fine structure underwater imaging LiDAR (FSUIL) has recently been developed and initial field trials have been conducted. The instrument, which rapidly scans an array of closely spaced, narrow, collimated laser pulses into the water column produces two-dimensional arrays of backscatter profiles, with fine spatial and temporal resolution. In this paper a novel method to derive attenuation profiles is introduced. This approach is particularly attractive in applications where primary on-board processing is required, and other applications where conventional model-based approaches are not feasible due to a limited computational capacity or lack of a priori knowledge of model input parameters. The paper also includes design details regarding the new FSUIL instrument are given, with field results taken in clear to moderately turbid water being presented to illustrate the various effects and considerations in the analysis of the system data. LiDAR waveforms and LiDAR derived attenuation coefficients are analyzed and compared to calibrated beam attenuation, particulate scattering and absorption coefficients. The system was field tested during the NATO Ligurian Sea LIDAR & Optical Measurements Experiment (LLOMEx) cruise in March 2013, during the spring bloom conditions. Throughout a wide range of environmental conditions, the FSUIL was deployed on an in situ profiler obtaining thousands of three-dimensional LiDAR scans from the near surface down to the lower thermocline. Deployed concurrent to the FSUIL was a range of commercially available off-the-shelf instruments providing side-by-side in-situ attenuation measurement.