In the article in chronological sequence, on the basis of many worked out historical and archival sources, formation of the education system in the southern Ukrainian lands, which began in the 1780s, is highlighted. The disputable issue of the existence of Kherson Maritime Cadet Corps is characterized, which is confirmed by the fact of the order of Empress Catherine II in 1783, the year when the Black Sea Fleet was founded in Kherson – the “sea gate” of the Black Sea. The author states that there are many different opinions about the existence of the Kherson Cadet Corps, and all the authors mentioned in our article are unanimous in one thing – in Kherson during 1783–1796 there was training of marine specialists of the full spectrum: from shipbuilders to specialists in the operation of ships at sea. From the end of the XVIII to the beginning of the XIX century there was formation of the education institutions of the marine profile with different conditions for getting education. Therefore, it is interesting that this was the impetus for opening in 1798 for the needs of the Baltic and Black Sea Fleets and St. Petersburg and Black Sea Admiralty of “Schools for navigator students and students of ship architecture”: in Kronstadt and Nikolaiev – navigators’, in St. Petersburg and Kherson – ship architecture. The first director of the ship architecture school was the captain of the 1st rank I. Ovtsyn, who at the same time served as the captain of the Kherson port. Major changes in the activities of the school took place during 1801–1805, when it was managed by vice-admiral Mark Voinovych – a member of the Black Sea Admiralty Board. In 1805, with the appointment of a new director – vice-admiral N. Yazykov, the school also changed. The author concluded about the establishment of the education institutions of the marine profile in the southern Ukrainian lands in the XVIII – the beginning of the XIX century and the author’s perspectives on further study of the deep processes of marine education development.