In 1989, Darren Vigilant graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Industrial Design. After completing the 5-year program, he worked for himself with the goals of financing a motorcycle tour and customizing a 1990 BMW for the journey. With his goals in hand, Darren shipped his motorcycle to Germany where he began the trip. Over the course of a year, he traveled through Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, and Morocco traversing 35,000 miles.
In 1992, upon returning to the United States, Darren began Vigilant Design. Over the last 21 years, he has grown the business from a small operation under his father’s auto body shop to a sizeable design and fabrication business operating in a 12,000 square foot building in Jersey City. The focus of Vigilant Design is fabricating high-end furniture and architectural metal work. In addition to building the pieces, Darren often works in collaboration with designers, architects, and machinists to resolve mechanical and technical issues.
In 1999, Darren embarked on another project. He traveled north to Newfoundland, Canada to purchase and begin a restoration of tugboat Bertha and ultimately sail Bertha to his home of New York City. His father Paul Vigilant and Wally Pennell, the former owner of the tug, accompanied Darren on this voyage down the coast.
Bertha’s restoration has been continuous and is very close to completion. Restoring Bertha has been Darren's passion for 14 years.