The genetic algorithm (GA) is an effective method to solve the path-planning problem and help realize the autonomous navigation for and control of unmanned surface vehicles. In order to overcome the inherent shortcomings of conventional GA such as population premature and slow convergence speed, this paper proposes the strategy of increasing the number of offsprings by using the multi-domain inversion. Meanwhile, a second fitness evaluation was conducted to eliminate undesirable offsprings and reserve the most advantageous individuals. The improvement could help enhance the capability of local search effectively and increase the probability of generating excellent individuals. Monte-Carlo simulations for five examples from the library for the travelling salesman problem were first conducted to assess the effectiveness of algorithms. Furthermore, the improved algorithms were applied to the navigation, guidance, and control system of an unmanned surface vehicle in a real maritime environment. Comparative study reveals that the algorithm with multi-domain inversion is superior with a desirable balance between the path length and time-cost, and has a shorter optimal path, a faster convergence speed, and better robustness than the others.