Cmdr. Janice Rothganger said the boat's owner witnessed Landon Shalz, 19, attempting to steal his boat.
Shalz allegedly got away the first time without the boat, but came back for it a week later.
Police say the owner again saw Shalz as he was pulling the boat behind an SUV without a trailer.
The owner contacted police and officers caught up with the suspect in St. Joseph.
Police said the investigation revealed Shalz also stole a homemade trailer from someone else.
Shalz is charged with tampering with a motor vehicle, a felony.
His bond is set at $20,000.