Quasi-static and freely falling dynamic penetrometers are currently in extensive use for measuring the mechanical properties of sediments composing the littoral seafloor. Sediments in this zone are often inhomogeneous both laterally and with depth so that it is difficult to predict burial of mines and other objects when relying on models that assume uniform, homogeneous sediment. The results of penetrometer tests discussed in this paper show that there can be a wide spread in the penetration resistance that is measured depending on the degree of sediment inhomogeneity and the rate of penetration. Moreover, the dilative response of granular strata appears to further complicate matters because of the sudden, large changes in shear strength that can occur. As a result, mine burial models currently in use, which often rely on simple strain-rate factors and shear strength determined from experiments utilizing uniform, reconstituted sediment, do not appear to be adequate to handle real in situ conditions in many cases. The objective of this paper is to obtain a better understanding of in situ properties and how they may be incorporated into various burial models. © 2007 IEEE.