Active contour model is widely and popularly used in the field of image segmentation because of its superior theoretical properties and efficient numerical methods. An algorithm to segment a ship target in infrared (IR) images using Chan–Vese (C–V) active contour model is proposed here. The method effectively integrates both image regional and boundary information by an adaptable weight function. The method can segment IR ship images, which usually contain noises, blurry boundaries, and heterogeneous regions. In addition, compared with the state-of-the-art methods, experiment results demonstrate the performance and effectiveness of this method.