Fyodor Fyodorovich Ushakov was born in Burnakovo village of the Yaroslavl province in the family of a small nobleman. After finishing the Naval Gentlemen Cadet Corps in 1766 he was sent to the Navy in the rank of warrant officer.
In the period of the Russian-Turkish War of 1768-1774 he served in the Azov-Don small fleet as a ship commander and took part in military operations in the Black Sea. And he distinguished himself in his first battle. In 1780 Ushakov was appointed the commander of the Imperial Yacht, but he abandoned the court career and preferred to come back to the Navy. In 1780-1782 he commanded the battleship "Victor" that guarded merchant chips from the piratical activities of the English Navy in the Mediterranean Sea.
In 1784 Ushakov was promoted to the rank of captain and appointed the commander of the battleship "Saint Pavel". From 1785 he took active part in the building of the Sebastopol Navy base.
In 1787 he commanded a battleship and the 3-rd squadron of the Russian Black Sea Navy. In the Russian-Turkish war of 1787-1791 Ushakov commanded the vanguard of the Russian Black Sea Navy and in 1788 smashed the Turkish Fleet at Fidonisy island. In this battle Ushakov took the initiative and not waiting for an order of the Fleet Commander attacked the outnumbered enemy ships. In spite of the rules of the line tactics that was in use then he at first attacked the flagship of the first enemy column.
In 1789 Ushakov was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral and appointed the Commander of all the Black Sea Navy that based in Sebastopol. Under his command the Russian Navy won the victories in the battles at Kerch (1790), Tendrovo (1790) and Caliakria (1791). These naval victories together with the victories of the Russian Army under the command of Suvorov on land let Russia gain a foothold strong of the Black Sea coast.
In 1793 Ushakov became a Vice-Admiral. The commanded the Russian Squadron that took part in the Mediterranean campaign in 1798-1800. This campaign was a part of military operation of the Russian Army against the Napoleonic Forces in Italy. The Russian troops on land were under the command of Count A.V.Suvorov.
In this naval campaign Ushakov distinguished himself in the assault of the fortress of Corfu in 1799. In this action the Russian Navy blocked the fortress, attacked it from sea, landed troops and they captured the fortress. It was just against all the military rules of those times. For this battle Ushakov was promoted to the rank of Admiral
Short time after capturing the fortress and island Corfu and all the Ionian Islands the Russian Squadron blocked the French Naval bases on the Italian coast (Genoa, Ankona and others) and landed troops that took active part in the military operations against the Napoleonic Forces in Italy and in the assaults of Naples, Roma and others. Suvorov appraised the action of the Russian Squadron very high. Ushakov was not only a talented naval commander but a skilful diplomat too. He defended the interests of Russia in the Mediterranean Sea very strongly and consistently.
Alexander I, who became the Russian Emperor in 1801 and his court were hostilely to Ushakov and his reforms in the Navy, and Ushakov fell into disfavour. At last he was compelled to retire from the Navy in 1807.
In the war of 1812 year Ushakov was elected the commander of the militia of the Tambov gubernia (province).
He died in autumn of 1817 in his estate in the Tambov gubernia.