There are four typical ways I recommend.
1. Paint - An opaque film finish. Give up on brightwork, and bask in the luxury of low-maintenance. If, of course, you don't mind giving up the beauty of wood.
2. Spar Varnish - A clear film finish. The most gorgeous option. Also the most maintenance... and most skill to get a good result. My personal go-to brand is Interlux 'Schooner' #96. But don't stress about the product, they're all pretty good. As a part time varnisher - it's more important for you to pick one of the brands that's easy for you go lay your hands on. Then get used to that one. Get good with it without having to adjust to a new brand each time.
3. And Oil/Varnish blend - This is the easiest to apply. Wipe on, wipe off. Unless you put ungodly amounts on... you won't build up a film. So it's now QUITE as protective. But neither is it as fragile. And it's so easy to touch up I think that more than counterbalances the benefits of a film. Not glossy, though. My favorite is Daly's Seafin Tea Oil.
4. Sikkens 'Cetol Marine' - A highly-engineered two step product. First the color coat, then the gloss topcoat. Much easier to apply than Spar Varnish, but not as easy as the Oil/Varnish blend. A very good compromise. I like the 'Natural Teak' flavor. Skip the oriiginal... it'll give you flashbacks.
Let us know what you choose.