The boat ride from the Gateway to the island takes about 30 minutes. It offers an excellent opportunity to take a look at all the ships especially those of the Indian Navy.
As the boat veers left (North East) of Gateway of India, on the left hand side you will first see the Indian Navy (Naval Dockyard) and then the big commercial liners.
As your boat moves along, you will pass the oil terminal of Butcher Island. Oil is offloaded in this island and through underwater pipes pumped to the different oil storage tanks on shore. In April 1944, there was a huge disaster when SS Fort Stikine exploded destroying the entire harbour (the erstwhile Victoria Docks). Over 800 people died though unofficial estimates are much more. The harbour had to be rebuilt from scratch. One such fall out was to have oil offloaded offshore from a safety perspective.
Boat rides to Elephanta are suspended during the Monsoon months.