Marine sediments support seismoacoustic surface waves, which can propagate along the seafloor, in deep and shallow water, and even onshore. Because of the strong attenuation of compressional and especially shear waves in the sediments, the surface waves can significantly contribute to the acoustic field far from the shore only through their coupling with volume waves in the water. We theoretically study the excitation of acoustic normal modes by seismoacoustic surface waves in a shallow-water waveguide with a sloping bottom consisting of unconsolidated marine sediments. It is found that the coupling primarily occurs in the vicinity of a modal cutoff. The effects of geoacoustic parameters and stratification of soft marine sediments on the efficiency of surface-to-volume conversion are investigated.