Abstract To complete the sampling task in a mesoscale eddy research with underwater gliders formation, a cooperative control method is developed in this paper. With this control method the predefined circular sampling path can be followed efficently by the underwater gliders and the relative position of gliders is maintained. Firstly, the polar coordinate system is used for modeling the formation of underwater gliders. Then a energy equation is constructed. Finally, the control method of heading angle is obtained by minimizing the value of derivative function of energy function. The similution platform is established and different formtion is verified in simulation. The formation of gliders on the circular sampling path can be keeped by this control method in these simulation and this is a efficient control method for circular sampling path following in eddy research.