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First Ship Contest opens

Two salties, Diana (foreground) and Zealand Delilah, sit stuck in the ice about 2.25 miles from the Duluth Ship Canal on May 7, 2014. The Diana was the first saltie to arrive in the Twin Ports that year. (News Tribune file photo)

Visit Duluth has begun its annual contest of guessing when the first oceangoing vessel, or “saltie,” will pass under the Aerial Lift Bridge.

Ship enthusiasts can submit their guess of the exact time and date the first saltie will enter Duluth at visitduluth.com/firstship. The contest closes March 25, the same day the Soo Locks open. Last year, 2,700 people submitted guesses for the First Ship Contest.

The first saltie to reach Duluth in 2017 was the Lake Ontario, which arrived at 5:32 p.m. April 2. The earliest arrival of a saltie was the Federal Hunter on March 30, 2013 and the latest was the Diana on May 7, 2014. The first- and second-place guesses win a Duluth getaway with lodging accommodations, gift cards to local restaurants and passes to several attractions.

People can also win prizes throughout March in the First Ship Trivia Challenge, where trivia questions will be posted each week on the contest page.