For marine seismic surveying, it is commonly assumed that the noise level decreases with depth. In addition, recent advances in broadband seismic have shown that a greater receiver depth is beneficial in preserving low-frequency data. However, in a heavily trafficked ocean, noise from other ships, including seismic interference, is a counteractive process in which the noise actually varies with depth. Normal modes can be used to explain and predict the ship noise and seismic interference noise level. We find that weather noise is dominant below the first mode’s cutoff frequency (approximately 6 Hz), ship noise is dominant from that frequency to the upper end of the useful seismic frequency band (80 Hz). We have used a data set in which the streamer was towed at 8, 45, and 60 m depths in three passes over the same area in the North Sea. The water depth is 135 m on average. We observe that the noise level at 45 and 60 m depth is approximately 1.6 times stronger than that at 8 m. We find that the air-gun energy is up to 46 dB stronger than the noise from the seismic vessel. However, the total noise from all the ships within several hundred kilometers radius can reduce the data quality.

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