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TikTok famous, freighter pilot who frequents Duluth on vessel says visits are ‘most inviting’

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DULUTH, MN -- Almost every Northlander has watched ships pass under the aerial lift bridge in Duluth.

But very few know what it's like to be on board one of those freighters.

Ryan Miller has been sailing the great lakes as a pilot aboard freighters for the last 6 years.

But only recently did he start posting educational videos about his experience on the social media platform Tik Tok.

"The Tik Tok thing was kind of cool. I had this really cool video, and my wife told me to put it on there, and the next thing I know people started asking me questions and I started answering. And I realized a lot of people don't know anything about this." said Miller.

What started as just answering friends questions, quickly blew up to tens of thousands of followers.

"I just checked this morning and I have more than 60,000 followers, which just blows my mind that so many people are interested." added Miller.

Miller said most of his followers are what he calls "boat nerds" and they keep him on his toes asking about the mechanics and history of the industry.

He delivers with informational videos.

One of those "Boat nerds" has his dream job here in Duluth.

"Definitely all of us here at the Duluth Seaway Port Authority are big boat nerds. It's part of the passion for the job we do to bring business to the port and economic development to the region. You can't do those things without being a little bit of a boat nerd." said Hron.

Jayson Hron works at the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, and he knows why Miller has over 60,000 thousand fans.

"It's an amazing spectacle, but it's a spectacle that people only get to see from the outside looking in. So, you take someone like Mr. Miller and this Tik Tok that he has created, and gives people the chance to look at it from the inside, and of course that inside perspective makes it all the more alluring and fascinating." Hron said.

Miller said his favorite port to visit is Buffalo New York, but adds Duluth is by far the most inviting.

"I actually really like sailing into Duluth. I feel like the whole town comes out and waves to us. So it's always fun especially in the summer and come out and wave to the kids. It's really cool to see everyone come out like that." said Miller.

Meteorologist Alex Libby

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