(With special thanks to Peter Stinson who first introduced me to the possibilities of WIKI Based knowledge management.)

Of all the jobs in the Coast Guard, vessel inspections presents newcomers with the most seemingly insurmountable mountain of information to learn. Confused by the thousands of pages of regulations, NVICs, conventions, and other official guidance from U.S. and foreign agencies; three of us wanna-be marine inspectors from Sector Hampton Roads started sharing notes.

Using Word and a shared folder, three things quickly became obvious:

1. We were duplicating massive amounts of research effort.
2. Keeping local files was cumbersome and wasn’t helpful to anyone else.
3. There must be dozens of new inspectors studying the same things we were.

What we needed was a way to be able to share notes – in real time – at work or at home – with others like us in the same job. What we needed was a WIKI.

Set-up over a long weekend, the Marine Inspector Qualification Guide has grown from three local users to over 1100 on three continents, creating hundreds of articles that relate to specific marine inspection tasks and competencies.

With over 80,000 page views and 4,000 edits – the Marine Inspector WIKI has grown, in a year and a half, to the size of War and Peace. It is being used as a research tool from the newest ensign out of the academy, to veteran Inspection Chiefs and OCMIs.

Do you need to know the SOLAS requirements for firefighters outfits? How about EPIRB registration regulations for a small passenger vessel? How many bilge pumps are required on that ferry? With articles on domestic, port state, pollution, and others – the MI WIKI has grown from nothing to a powerful knowledge management system: Total investment? 20 bucks.

We have created a browse account for those of you who want to see what the MI WIKI can do. For those of you who want full access or want to learn how to create a WIKI for your community – Please leave a comment to this note, and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Browse only username: USCG
The password is : CG840
(case sensitive)

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