Shear properties provide important information about the lithology, fluid content and stability of sediments but are difficult to measure using conventional seismics in the marine environment. Seafloor compliance measurements are sensitive to subsurface shear properties but have only been used in the Pacific Ocean and on shallow coastal shelves, where the source wave energy is known to be strong. We show here that seafloor compliance measurements can provide useful information about shear properties of marine sediments in less energetic settings and under high noise conditions caused by strong seafloor currents. We measured compliance at three sites in the Faroes-Shetland sedimentary basin north of the Atlantic ocean. The sites have 1000 times higher noise levels than quiet seafloor sites and the source wave power is highly variable, but the data still reveal significant differences in sediment properties between two sites down to 2 kilometres beneath the seafloor. The first site, at the northern end of the basin, has an average shear velocity of 400 m/s in the upper 0.6 kilometres beneath the seafloor, increasing to approximately 2100 m/s at 2 kilometres beneath the seafloor. The second site, further south and to the west of the basin axis, has an average shear velocity of 150 m/s in the upper 0.6 kilometres beneath the seafloor, increasing to 1400 m/s at 2 kilometres beneath the seafloor. The sediments are probably unconsolidated in the upper 0.6 kilometres beneath the seafloor at both sites, with a mean grain size of 1 mu m at the southern site and 20 mu m at the northern site. The southern site has higher porosity at all depths and a higher risk of borehole collapse during drilling.