Thank you for your question.
A page at DSN Sports notes the following:
Awareness, Prevention and Treatment of world-wide marine stings and bites
Dr Peter Fenner
Honorary Medical Officer, Surf Life Saving Australia
International Life Saving Federation Medical/Rescue Conference
Proceedings September 1997
* Is usually ineffective for the skin pain of a jellyfish sting
* Does NOT reverse the effects of venom already injected
* Vinegar PREVENTS FURTHER STINGING on any tentacles that may remain
on the skin after a Box-jellyfish (especially Chironex fleckeri)
* Vinegar may prevent further discharge of stinging cells after an
Irukandji sting, or Portuguese man-o?-war sting
Vinegar should not be used without first testing a small area of the
sting for adverse effects. It may cause further discharge of stinging
cells, increasing skin pain or systemic envenomation effects..."
And, at Marine Medic Australia
you will find a very interesting report where vinegar was shown to
potentially have the opposite effect of that desired.
The following book is reviewed at this site and notes:
Williamson, J.A., P. J. Fenner, J. W. Burnett, and J. Riflin (eds).
1996. Venomous and poisonous marine animals: a medical and biological
handbook. Univ. So. Wales Press, Sydney. $130. 504 p.
"...Most stings should not be treated with vinegar. Vinegar just
increases the discharge of the nematocysts. Treat victims with
embedded Echinoderm spines with hot water (p. 317) for best
And the following thread on Google Groups also recommends against vinegar:
"...Wrong, not *any* marine stings Dr. Smartypants; there are some
marine stinger injuries out there where if you apply vinegar, you will
harm the victim even more. However, if someone has been stung by a box
jellyfish, the FIRST thing they need is vinegar to neutralise the
poison and keep the
damage to skin and flesh to a minimum..."
There was precious little else to be found on this other than the
standard recommendations to use vinegar. But, as you can see, some
research has shown this not to be effective and could potentially
increase the damage done.
"marine stinger" +vinegar +ineffective
"marine stinger" +vinegar
I trust my research has provided you with a useful answer. If a link
above should fail to work or anything require further explanation or
research, please do post a Request for Clarification prior to rating
the answer and closing the question and I will be pleased to assist